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Hong Kong's pro-democracy march kicks off

July 1 marks the 17th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China from Britain, and tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to express their disapproval.

The anti-China crowd formed a pro-democracy rally on the streets of Hong Kong to protest Beijing's tightening grip on the city, after China's central government essentially dissolved the pledge that Hong Kong would remain "highly autonomous" under a "one country, two systems" policy last month. The protestors also blame China for the city's rising wealth inequality.

"More and more young people are aware of the disappointments and failures of the Chinese central government," Johnson Yeung, a member of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organized the protests, told Time. "We believe that civil disobedience is the best means of fighting for democracy."

Here are a few of the most stunning images from today's protests. --Meghan DeMaria

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