A historic debate on the Hong Kong government’s proposed blueprint on electing the city's next leader began on Wednesday, June 17. Lawmakers will engage in a battle of rhetoric during the three-day talks, after which they must vote on the proposal, which needs a two-thirds majority to pass. Hundreds of protesters - both for and against the proposal for the 2017 chief executive election - gathered for peaceful demonstrations outside the Legislative Council in Admiralty. In a sign of the tense mood, hundreds of police officers were deployed to prevent any riots during the debate and security was tightened at the government complex. South China Morning Post photographers capture scenes from the front lines of the debate.