The central government's liaison office last night witnessed the largest mass gathering on its doorstep as tens of thousands of people walked past, calling for genuine universal suffrage, and hundreds insisting on a direct acknowledgement of their demands stayed on. March organisers claimed about 30,000 people took part, far exceeding their expectations, and cited the turnout as an example of the Hong Kong public's desire for the abolition of functional constituencies to achieve genuine universal suffrage. Police said about 9,000 marchers arrived at the liaison office. The turnout exceeded the estimated 22,000 people who marched from Victoria Park to the Central Government Offices in January 2008 after a National People's Congress decision ruling out universal suffrage in 2012. At the time, police estimated the Victoria Park marchers at 6,800. Police security around the liaison office, Beijing's representative in Hong Kong, was visibly tight, with layers of railings and human chains protecting the building. More than 1,000 officers were deployed for the march. Nevertheless, about 10 radical activists, mostly supporters of the League of Social Democrats, broke through the cordon and charged towards the building. Tension built when several hundred protesters also approached the building, forcing the closure of Des Voeux Road for an hour. Two police officers and one protester were injured in the scuffles, according to police. It was not until 7.45pm, after league members were allowed to lay a coffin at the building's back entrance, that the protesters dispersed. Demonstrations outside the liaison office have often been marred by incidents, with staff in the building openly showing their displeasure at the protesters on their doorstep. Recently, the staff twice threw back a birthday card protesters had hoped the liaison office would send on to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo . Although yesterday's march was ostensibly for genuine universal suffrage and taking place within the consultation period for political reform, various groups ranging from women's rights advocates to residents of different districts dissatisfied with government planning decisions also took to the streets. However, the most prominent issue that attracted the participants was the sentencing of Liu for 11 years on Christmas Day after he was found guilty of subversion. Liu was a key drafter of the Charter 08 manifesto for democratic reform on the mainland. Before the march, the Civic Party members unveiled a 'democracy wall' on which they invited the public to write their political demands. Legal sector lawmaker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee said the original Democracy Wall came into being in 1978 and began the democracy movement. 'It was with that spirit that the Charter 08 was drafted. But the drafter of that charter is now in jail,' she said. Joining the march for democracy were children and parents living under welfare, investors in failed minibonds, villagers from Tsoi Yuen Tsuen who oppose their displacement to make way for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, Kowloon residents displeased by government plans to redevelop the Kai Tak airport site, and people who oppose the building of columbariums, or repositories for ashes of the dead, near their homes in different parts of the New Territories. 'It doesn't matter what the march is about, we just want to vent our anger,' said Yau Fuk-loy, a Tai Po resident who saw a columbarium constructed near his home. Pan-democrats cited the various groups as an example of how the slow pace of democratic reform is causing a plethora of social problems. Tsoi Yuen Tsuen residents, in particular, aligned their cause with the call to abolish functional constituencies, as lawmakers from those seats were adamantly pushing the express rail link plan. The head of the march left Chater Road in Central at about 3pm and arrived at the liaison office in Western District at about 5pm. Protesters grumbled when they realised they could only tie their ribbons and placards on railings on the other side of Des Voeux Road, almost 20 metres away from the liaison office. Supporters of the League of Social Democrats brought up the rear, arriving at about 6pm. After half an hour, they managed to break through the police cordon and encamped in the middle of Des Voeux Road, demanding they be allowed to present a coffin to the liaison office. Traffic on Des Voeux Road West had to be blocked for an hour until the protesters dispersed. League member and district councillor Michael Mak Kwok-fung said nobody was injured in what he believed to be a 'peaceful, effective and rational' protest. He conceded any march that targeted the liaison office was bound to be tense. League chairman Wong Yuk-man said he was now more confident over the success of the plan to have five lawmakers resign in each of the five geographical constituencies to spark by-elections that can be used as a referendum on the abolition of functional constituencies. 'You can see today that the public mood is in support of this movement,' he said. The march also became an opportunity to publicise the de facto referendum movement, although Civic Party insiders said this was not planned but came about because of the general atmosphere. The league and the Civic Party have set January 27 as the preliminary date of resignations, but an official announcement of the details and the fixed date is expected on Sunday. The government last night said it fully respected the public's right to protest, but it was important that people expressed their views in a peaceful manner.