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Bolstered by a massive rally overnight, Hong Kong's pro-democracy activists were defiant on the eighth day of protests Sunday in the face of attacks by opponents and government warnings to clear the business district streets they have occupied to press their demand for reforms.
"Democracy now! Democracy in Hong Kong!" thousands chanted as speakers from the movement seeking wider political reforms for this former British colony urged them to persist in their campaign. The rally lasted hours, with participants at times clapping and cheering as a stream of speakers and singers addressed them and performed popular songs.
"We are not seeking revolution. We just want democracy!" said Joshua Wong, a 17-year-old student leader. "We hope there will be no violence," he said. "It would be unfortunate if this movement ended with bloodshed and violence."
The night passed peacefully despite fears that police would act to clear out the protesters. The city's top leader, Chief Secretary Leung Chun-ying, appeared on television Saturday evening to once again urge everyone to go home, saying things needed to get back to normal by Monday. The protests are demanding Leung's resignation, but he has refused.
Standoffs between the protesters and their antagonists grew ugly Saturday, as the two sides traded insults and at times taunted police. In Mong Kong, some shouted “go back to the mainland,” and yelled curses at those challenging the blocking of a street. Adding to the disorder, some residents dumped water from their apartments onto the people below.
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