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Protesters March in Macau to Demand Full Democracy


About 1,000 residents of Macau have held a march to demand full democracy and protest corruption in the Chinese gambling enclave.

The march coincided with the eighth anniversary of the former Portuguese colony's return to Chinese rule. Protest organizers say Macau's lack of democracy encourages government corruption and increases the poor-rich divide in the booming city.

Macau's leader is currently chosen by a 300-member committee of mostly Beijing loyalists. Only 12 of the city's 29 legislators are directly elected, while the rest are chosen by the leader and interest groups.

Political unrest in Macau is rare, but activists have held several protests this year against corruption and an influx of illegal workers hired to build new Western-brand casinos and hotels.

The city of 500,000 people launched its biggest ever corruption trial last month involving a former transport and public works secretary, Ao Man-long, accused of taking bribes and money laundering.

Macau's government held several events Thursday to celebrate the handover anniversary, including a pop concert and a flag raising ceremony attended by the city's leader, Chief Executive Edmund Ho.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.