With the government unmoved by the large crowd, academics predict rising support for pro-democracy parties The historic protest was a vote of no-confidence in Tung Chee-hwa's administration, academics and some lawmakers said yesterday. Some believed public grievances would continue to deepen, with more people likely to vote for the pro-democracy camp in the next Legco elections. Ma Lik, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, said the fact that hundreds of thousands took to the streets was a sign of mounting opposition to Tung Chee-hwa's administration. 'It's time for the government to reflect on its performance,' Mr Ma said. He said the government had become 'divorced from the masses' by introducing measures such as raising taxes without considering the negative economic impact. 'The living standards of the majority of people have declined over the past six years and people wanted to express their discontent with the government by participating in the march,' he said. Li Pang-kwong, a political scientist at Lingnan University, said: 'I think it has exerted great pressure on the legitimacy of the Tung administration in the next four years.' While such a mass protest might have brought down governments elsewhere or forced political leaders to retreat from controversial reform, Professor Li doubted if Mr Tung would be swayed. He believed public discontent would deepen in the lead up to the Legco elections next year. 'People's dissatisfaction will continue to accumulate and spread like an epidemic in the community. The next breaking point will probably be the next elections. The pro-democracy camp might become the majority force in Legco,' he said. Another political commentator, Sung Lap-kung of City University, said the march was a vote of no-confidence. He believed the march would increase the public's pursuit of stronger democracy. Executive Councillor Cheng Yiu-tong, also head of the left-wing Federation of Trade Unions, said the show of discontent helped illustrate that 'something was wrong'. He urged the government to address the people's concerns. Allen Lee Peng-fei, Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, said the protest would deepen the sense of crisis within the Tung administration. 'The central government will certainly be worried about the situation in Hong Kong,' he said, 'The Chinese leaders cannot help but wonder what is happening.' Speaking ahead of the march, head of the Central Policy Unit, Lau Siu-kai said: 'The government should take these grievances seriously and strive to improve communication with the people.' But Professor Lau was adamant that large-scale disturbances were unlikely to break out because most Hong Kong people were rational and viewed maintaining social stability as their primary concern. Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology Henry Tang Ying-yen said the protest would not undermine foreign investors' confidence in Hong Kong.