As Hong Kong's Legislative Council opened a second round of public consultations on electoral reforms on Wednesday, pro-democracy lawmakers opened yellow umbrellas and staged a walkout.
A video of the chamber shows Chief Secretary Carrie Lam speaking while 23 legislators hoist umbrellas and leave. They were reportedly chanting, "I want genuine universal suffrage."
The umbrella has become the symbol of Hong Kong's Occupy Central movement, led mainly by students who feel they're embroiled in a fight for democracy. The protests that unfolded over the fall were dubbed the "Umbrella Movement" after protesters were shown using umbrellas to shield themselves from tear gas fired by the authorities.
The new consultation comes after months of occupations and demonstrations against proposed reforms that would allow Beijing to screen candidates for the 2017 leadership election — something seen by many citizens as a curb on their right to universal suffrage.
"I urge the members to think twice and not completely destroy the limited space for political discussion even before the second consultation has started," Lam appealed to the half-deserted chamber, according to the Associated Press. "Many of my friends feel extreme pessimism whether this proposal of universal suffrage can be passed.… We will make our best endeavors until the last moment."
On Monday, Hong Kong's government submitted a report to Beijing that analyzed the political situation in the city. After detailing actions taken by the protesters, it concluded by saying that the government "understands that constitutional development is an extremely controversial issue," adding that officials wish "to discuss with different sectors of the community specific electoral issues in a rational and pragmatic manner, and work out together a fair, just, transparent and competitive proposal for selecting the CE [Chief Executive] by universal suffrage."
Since its emergence as a symbol of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, the yellow umbrella has been adopted by other Occupy protesters around the world.
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