For months, political observers and even some of their pan-democratic allies had been writing off the so-called de facto referendum plan as doomed to failure, if it ever got off the ground. Nevertheless, the Civic Party and the League of Social Democrats yesterday launched what they called the 'new democratic movement' amid a crowd of more than 1,000 supporters in Chater Garden in open defiance of the doomsayers, as well those who have labelled the movement 'unconstitutional' and 'amounting to a civil uprising'. 'Change, by its nature, must originate in a minority,' said Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, the Civic Party leader and spokeswoman for the new alliance between the two groups. 'Change, starts with us today.' The groups estimated that 4,000 people showed up. While the slogan on the main banner behind the campaign rally platform no longer used the words that had been described as calling for a 'civil uprising,' league members led chants to a similar effect. 'They don't want us to say those words, right? Then let's chant it a few more times,' said Wong Yuk-man, the league chairman. 'Five district referendums. All people rise up, rise up, rise up.' Former Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming said that Tuesday's resignations of lawmakers reminded him of lawmakers stepping down 13 years ago to make way for the provisional legislature, vowing to return in a more democratic system. 'But why is it that 13 years later, we seem no closer towards achieving real democracy? This referendum is for you to vote for justice,' Lee said. Aided by rock singing and clattering of red and purple inflatable batons often seen at pop concerts and sporting events, spirits were high for supporters who seemed even more determined to back and chant slogans for the movement after it received intense criticism from the pro-establishment camp and the central authorities. Stalls had been set up Chater Garden to enlist volunteers to help with the campaign and to accept donations. Campaign staff morale was boosted by what was viewed as a miscalculation by the pro-establishment camp in causing the adjournment of the Legislative Council meeting - a radical move that may have unintentionally kick-started the de facto referendum campaign to greater effect than if the lawmakers had merely read out resignation speeches. 'Momentum is swinging each day. Who knows where we might stand at the end of the nomination period [for candidacy in the by-elections],' one core member of the campaign team said. Eu acknowledged the odds were still against them, but she urged the crowd to invoke the spirit of July 1, 2003, when the people of Hong Kong rejected the proposed National Security Bill. She urged each member of the crowd to persuade at least two sceptics to support their campaign.