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Thousands march in protest over Hong Kong’s leader

Hong Kong police said 26,000 people joined the march at its peak Tuesday, while organizers said 130,000 took part.

Vincent Yu/Associated Press

Hong Kong police said 26,000 people joined the march at its peak Tuesday, while organizers said 130,000 took part.

HONG KONG — Tens of thousands of people marched in Hong Kong on the first day of 2013 to call for the city’s Beijing-backed leader to step down over allegations he was untruthful about illegal renovations at his mansion and to press for full democracy.

Police said 26,000 people joined the march at its peak Tuesday while organizers said 130,000 took part.

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They carried banners and chanted slogans urging the leader, Leung Chun-ying, to resign. Some held signs depicting Leung as Pinocchio or with wolf-like fangs, a play on Leung’s nickname, the wolf. One demonstrator was dressed as a wolf wearing a Communist Red Guard uniform, a reference to fears over Leung’s close ties to China’s leaders. Many waved Hong Kong’s British colonial-era flag.

In the evening, members of a small radical group briefly blocked several roads after they were stopped by authorities from marching to Leung’s official government residence.

The day of protest came half a year after Leung took office after being chosen by a committee of mostly pro-Beijing elites. Leung won the job of Hong Kong’s leader after a scandal over an illegal basement brought down his rival. But illegal structures were later discovered at Leung’s house, prompting lawmakers to accuse him of covering it up and calling for his impeachment.

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