Asia

Thousands in Hong Kong march for pro-democracy lawmakers

  • Thousands of people march on the first day of 2017 at a downtown street in Hong Kong Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, to protest against Beijing's interpretation of Basic Law and Hong Kong government's bid to ban pro-democracy lawmakers from taking office. They also demand true universal suffrage, which is not happening in the coming chief executive election in March. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

    Thousands of people march on the first day of 2017 at a downtown street in Hong Kong Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, to protest against Beijing's interpretation of Basic Law and Hong Kong government's bid to ban pro-democracy lawmakers from taking office. They also demand true universal suffrage, which is not happening in the coming chief executive election in March. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)  (The Associated Press)

  • A protester raises a picture of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying with a Chinese word "Prisoner" on his face during a rally on the first day of 2017 in Hong Kong, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. They protest against Beijing's interpretation of Basic Law and Hong Kong government's bid to ban pro-democracy lawmakers from taking office. They also demand true universal suffrage, which is not happening in the coming chief executive election in March. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

    A protester raises a picture of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying with a Chinese word "Prisoner" on his face during a rally on the first day of 2017 in Hong Kong, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. They protest against Beijing's interpretation of Basic Law and Hong Kong government's bid to ban pro-democracy lawmakers from taking office. They also demand true universal suffrage, which is not happening in the coming chief executive election in March. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters raise pictures of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying during a protest on the first day of 2017 in Hong Kong, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. They protest against Beijing's interpretation of Basic Law and Hong Kong government's bid to ban pro-democracy lawmakers from taking office. They also demand true universal suffrage, which is not happening in the coming chief executive election in March. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

    Protesters raise pictures of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying during a protest on the first day of 2017 in Hong Kong, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. They protest against Beijing's interpretation of Basic Law and Hong Kong government's bid to ban pro-democracy lawmakers from taking office. They also demand true universal suffrage, which is not happening in the coming chief executive election in March. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)  (The Associated Press)

Police in Hong Kong say nearly 5,000 people have marched in a New Year's Day protest against an attempt by the government to disqualify four pro-democracy lawmakers.

The Hong Kong government has started legal proceedings against the four recently elected legislators, who altered their swearing-in oaths to stage apparent protests against the Chinese government in Beijing. In November, the government won a similar challenge against two newly elected separatist lawmakers.

Protesters on Sunday held placards in support of the four lawmakers.

One of the legislators, Edward Yiu, said the government's legal move was destroying Hong Kong's democratic system.

Police said around 4,800 people took part in the march. Organizers said more than 9,000 participated.