The July 1 anti-government march on Saturday saw its size shrink by almost half to a two-year low of about 60,000, with organisers blaming the low turnout on perceived aggressive tactics by police towards protesters in recent years and heavy rain.
Police put the turnout at 14,500 – the lowest since 2003.
Researchers from the University of Hong Kong public opinion programme said about 27,000 to 35,000 people took part.
The Civil Human Rights Front, an umbrella group of some 50 pro-democracy organisations, conceded the turnout was low, but its convenor, Au Nok-hin, maintained it was still “a good show”.
Frustration for Hong Kong protesters trying to catch Xi’s eye
“In recent years, police have taken a more hostile attitude towards protesters and used pepper spray more often than in the past. We should actually praise those who turned up this year for their ­courage,” Au said.
He warned the new chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng …