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Student Organizations to Disrupt Hong Kong's Business District

Joshua Wong, a student leader in the Occupy Central movement handouts leaflets near a polling station to urge people to vote on the last day for an unofficial referendum on democratic reform in Hong Kong, June 29, 2014.

Several student groups say they plan to disrupt Hong Kong's business district Tuesday as part of a massive pro-democracy rally.

Zhou Yongkang, secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, told VOA’s Mandarin Service Monday that his organization will participate in civil disobedience to call for electoral changes that would curb Beijing's control of the Chinese territory.

Occupy Central, a pro-reform movement that organized an unofficial referendum in which nearly 800,000 Hong Kongers voted on plans for electoral autonomy from Beijing, will live-stream Tuesday's event from Hong Kong's Victoria Park. Zhou said it is a moment to apply pressure, but peacefully.

“This will be a way to show to society this is exactly what the Occupy movement is about. It can be a peaceful, non-violent and orderly way to carry out this process," he said. "It will be a ripple effect, to push the government, to make it understand that it really has a crisis in governance here.”

Organizers anticipate that hundreds of thousands of protestors will turn out Tuesday.

July 1 is a public holiday in Hong Kong, marking the anniversary of its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

This year, it also comes two days after the close of the Occupy Central referendum. According to the initial results from the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Polling Center, approximately 792,800 people voted on three plans that would allow for electoral autonomy in Hong Kong.

China has said Hong Kongers can vote for their elected officials in 2017, but only from a list of candidates selected by Beijing.

This report was written in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin Service