As government pleads for peace and calm, Hong Kong prepares for a big rally

Hong Kong was gearing up for a mass rally on Sunday that is expected to gauge support for pro-democracy demonstrations in the Chinese-ruled city as the government appealed to people to express their views peacefully.

Police gave the green light to Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) — organizer of largely peaceful million-strong marches in June — to hold the rally, the first time the group has been granted permission for a protest since Aug. 18.

Activists will march from Victoria Park in the bustling shopping district of Causeway Bay to Chater Road near the heart of the financial hub, the route of similar protests, most of which started out peacefully but later descended into violence.

The protests escalated in June over a now-shelved extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial, but have now evolved into broader calls for democracy, among other demands.

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