A new generation of lawmakers bent on preserving Hong Kong's autonomy against increasing interference from China is heading to victory in the territory's parliamentary elections.
Final results showed pro-democracy candidates won 30 of 70 seats in the Legislative Council.
Among the winners in Sunday's Legislative Council elections was 23-year-old Nathan Law, one of the leaders of the 2014 protests student-led, pro-democracy "Umbrella Revolution," which shut down key parts of Hong Kong for 79 days demanding for full and free elections.
Law and fellow protest leader Joshua Wong co-founded the party Demosisto, which advocates a city-wide referendum on independence from Beijing. The two were were convicted last month for their roles in leading the protests, but received light sentences.
Another surprising winner was Yau Wai-Ching, 25, and Sixtus "Baggio" Leung, 30, of the Youngspiration party.
"This shows that Hong Kong people want changes, it shows that Hong Kong people want to resist," said Leung. "When we can not trust "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law to maintain the distinction between Hong Kong's system and Beijing, then the next step, the answer is to cut things off."
Supporters of Radical localist group Youngspiration's candidate Baggio Leung shout slogans near a polling station for the legislative council election, Sept. 4, 2016.
More than two million people, or 58 percent of registered voters, cast their ballots in Sunday's elections, the highest turnout in any legislative elections since Britain returned control of Hong Kong to China in 1997. Many polling stations remained open well into Monday, hours after the voting officially ended.
The electoral victory gives Hong Kong's pro-democracy forces a one-third control of the 70-seat Legislative Council, which gives it the power to veto bills approved by the council's pro-Beijing majority. They are becoming increasingly worried that Beijing is moving to erode the territory's civil liberties, which are enshrined under the 1997 handover agreement that ensured Hong Kong's autonomy for at least 50 years.