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HK Democracy Activists, Legislators Begin Hunger Strike

Protesters stand under a banner as they prepare to go on a hunger strike to call for "true" universal suffrage in Hong Kong, March 28, 2014.
A group of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, including five legislators, have begun a temporary hunger strike to demonstrate for universal voting rights in the former British colony.

The group of 16 started its action in the territory's central business district Friday, saying they will only drink water and consume no food for as long as they can.

Albert Ho Chun-yan told VOA at the scene that the pan-democrats will not accept any future election for chief executive that filters the candidates and prevents any candidate from running.

“Right now we are approaching the early stages of the first wave of the Occupy Central Movement, maintaining interest in our movement. Right now is the first wave, followed by the second wave and the third wave. In May and June there will be street actions which include food strikes to ensure our movement’s efforts are strengthened step by step," he said.

Pro-democracy supporters, threatening to stage massive protests in June, say they want all citizens to be able to vote on a wide choice of candidates for the territory's top position.

Beijing has said Hong Kong will transition to universal suffrage by 2017, but has ruled out giving up a special election committee that decides which candidates are allowed on the ballot. The committee, with 1,200 members, is widely seen as stacked with pro-Beijing members.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.