Hong Kong (CNN) — July 1, 2014, the 17th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, is set to be a hot, possibly stormy day.
But the suffocating weather won’t stop pro-democracy Hong Kongers — possibly hundreds of thousands of them — from filling the streets, beginning at 3 p.m today. Activists are openly challenging China’s vision for the city’s political future, and they believe the public is on their side.
In a recent unofficial referendum organized by pro-democracy activist group Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP), 787,767 Hong Kongers voted in support of free elections for the city’s next leader.
The almost-800,000 figure represents about 22% of registered voters in Hong Kong, out of a total of 3.5 million registered voters, according to government figures. Before the vote began ten days ago, organizers were hoping around 100,000 people would participate.