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Hong Kong's pro-democracy parties win hundreds of seats in local elections as the city pushes back against China

Rosie Perper , Business Insider US
 Nov 25, 2019, 11:21 AM
Local residents celebrate outside a polling station as Junius Ho Kwan-yiu loses in District Council Elections on November 25, 2019 in Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong held its district council elections on Sunday as anti-government protests continue into its sixth month with demands for an independent inquiry into police brutality, the retraction of the word "riot" to describe the rallies, and genuine universal suffrage.
Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images
  • Pro-democracy candidates in Hong Kong made huge gains on Monday in district council elections, winning 344 of the 452 seats as of 2 p.m. local time, according to The South China Morning Post.
  • A record 2.94 million people voted this election, equal to about 71 percent of eligible voters and more than double 2016's voter turnout.
  • Democracy leaders said these votes signaled growing support for protests and could pile pressure onto Chief Executive Carrie Lam who is facing calls from protesters for a political overhaul.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

Pro-democracy candidates in Hong Kong made huge gains on Monday following elections which saw a record number of voters turnout amid protests that have rocked the city for over six months.

By 2 p.m. on Monday local time, pro-democracy politicians swept district council elections, reclaiming 17 out of 18 districts which were previously under pro-Beijing control, according to The South China Morning Post. This translates to 344 of the 452 local seats.

A record 2.94 million people voted this election, equal to about 71 percent of eligible voters and more than double 2016's turnout.

The weekend was marked by unusual quiet as protests have seen an uptick in violence on university campuses over the past week. Protests began in June against proposed legislation that would have allowed for the extradition of Hong Kong residents to China, but have since widened to target Chinese encroachment and police brutality in the semi-autonomous city.

According to Reuters, some voting centers erupted with cheers as election results began trickling in.

Democracy leaders said these votes signaled growing support for protests and could add pressure on Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Tommy Cheung, who won a seat in the Yuen Long district, told Reuters that the wins constituted a "democratic tsunami."

Many winning candidates had actively participated in protests, which left establishment candidates reeling.

Lam Cheuk Ting, a 42-year-old Democratic Party politician and member of the city's Legislative Council, was attacked in July by masked assailants who stormed a metro station and attacked people with batons and other weapons.

Jimmy Sham, leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, which has helped organise many of the mass protests in Hong Kong and who had apparently been attacked with hammers during protests last month, won a seat in the Lek Yuen district.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho, who voiced opposition for Hong Kong protests and who was stabbed by a protester earlier this month, lost his pro-Beijing seat in a surprising upset. Ho wrote on Facebook that Monday featured an "exceptional election, and an unusual result."

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