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Thousands March in Hong Kong Against Delay in Full Democracy

Thousands of people have marched in Hong Kong to protest Beijing's decision to delay the introduction of full democracy in the city.

Protesters in Sunday's march demanded that Beijing allow Hong Kong citizens to directly elect their leader and all lawmakers by 2012.

China's leadership ruled last month that direct elections for Hong Kong's leader would have to wait until 2017. Beijing also said full elections for the territory's legislature would not come before 2020 at the earliest.

Organizers of today's rally say more than 20,000 people joined the march as it proceeded from Hong Kong's Victoria Park to the city's government headquarters.

Hong Kong's current leader, Chief Executive Donald Tsang, said on local radio today that people should focus on what is possible to achieve in political reform, rather than what is not.

He was referring to Beijing's ruling that some changes could be made to electoral arrangements for the leader and legislature in 2012.

Veteran Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker Martin Lee says he hopes the march will send a strong message to Beijing that Hong Kong people want a genuine democracy.

Police estimate that nearly seven thousand people had gathered in the park at the start of today's procession.

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