Hong Kong protest against chief executive CY Leung attracts thousands


Protesters holding a banner with a picture of Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying as 'Pinocchio' take part in a pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong on January 1, 2013. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets, calling for the city's embattled leader to quit and demanding greater democracy 15 years after it returned to Chinese rule.



Thousands of people in Hong Kong took to the streets on the first day of the new year to call for the city's chief executive, CY Leung, to resign.

According to BBC News, protesters said Leung is not to be trusted because he lied about illegal renovations at his home, a politically sensitive issue in Hong Kong. They also want the right to vote for their leader, who is currently selected by a small committee said to be loyal to Beijing.

Organizers of the march claimed 130,000 came in protest of Leung, but police put the number at 26,000.

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BBC also noted that pro-Leung rallies were held as well, with those organizers saying 60,000 people took part. Police put that number at 8,500.

The protest has put more pressure on Leung, whose popularity is low compared to that of his two predecessors, reported Bloomberg. He also faces anger from Hong Kong's population regarding air pollution, which kills 3,000 prematurely every year in the city, as well as some of the world's most expensive home prices.

"The chief executive has a serious problem in credibility," Francis Chek, a 24-year-old information technology worker who attended one of the protests, told Bloomberg. "He used one lie to cover up another lie, he has no sincerity at all to tell the public the truth. Enough is enough."

The renovations on Leung's home brought about so much disdain because most Hong Kong families are forced to live in cramped conditions, according to BBC. Leung acknowledged that he enlarged his home without permission and apologized for the structures, saying forgetfulness is the reason he failed to be open about the issue.