More than 800 people took part in a run through Hong Kong yesterday morning to oppose the Occupy Central campaign, but it was well below the 10,000 figure organisers had hoped for.
The anti-Occupy Central supporters ran from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Road, Central. The Alliance for Peace and Democracy, which organised the event, also hosted the march along the same route in the afternoon.
A number of runners waved national flags and wore T-shirts sporting messages of support for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Police put the attendance figures for the run, which started at 7.30am, at 880.
Asked about the low turnout for the run, alliance spokesman Robert Chow Yung said the figure was not important. He said he believed more people were prepared to attend the afternoon march.
"Some of those who joined the run said they were so cheerful when running in such good weather," Chow said.
The march marks the end of the Alliance for Peace and Democracy's month-long signature campaign. More than 1.46 million have signed its petition, the alliance said, beating the 793,000 who voted in Occupy Central's unofficial reform poll in June. Beijing loyalist and member of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee Maria Tam Wai-chu said the anti-Occupy Central activities would unify Hong Kong people.
Tam said people fighting for democracy should resort to methods that were within the legal framework and were constitutional. She also appealed to Hong Kong people to express their political views peacefully.
Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, said the city was a peaceful community and therefore any political disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner.