HONG KONG - Hong Kong police arrested more than 500 protesters at a sit-in early Wednesday following a huge pro-democracy rally that organisers said mobilised half a million people demanding the right to choose their next leader.
The arrests came at the end of a largely peaceful rally on Tuesday that protest leaders said brought the biggest crowds onto the streets since the city was handed over from Britain to China in 1997.
Waving colonial-era flags and shouting anti-Beijing chants, protesters carried banners emblazoned with slogans including "We want real democracy" and "We stand united against China".
Discontent in the city of seven million people is at its highest level in years over Beijing's insistence that it vet candidates before a vote in 2017 for the semi-autonomous city's next leader.
At the end of Tuesday's march, hundreds of people joined a sit-in in Hong Kong's Central financial district, with police moving in at 3:00 am to break up the protest.
Police arrested "511 people who were participating in an assembly that was not approved", a police spokesman told AFP. Pro-democracy lawmakers were among those detained, local media reported.