VIDEO: Celebrations in Hong Kong After Landslide Victory for Pro-Democracy Candidates

Per Guardian News, protests have turned into celebrations on the streets of Hong Kong as pro-democracy candidates recorded a landslide win in local elections.

The elections had been touted as a referendum on chief executive Carrie Lam as the councillors who are elected will hold power to chose the next chief executive.

The results suggest the public continues to support the protest movement even after months of unrest.

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MSN reports Hong Kong residents handed an overwhelming victory to pro-democracy candidates in a vote for local district councils on Sunday, a stunning repudiation of the city’s Beijing-backed government after months of increasingly violent protests seeking meaningful elections.

Pro-democracy candidates won 86% seats of the 444 seats counted as of 9 a.m., official results showed, with eight seats still up for grabs. In the last election in 2015, they had won about a quarter of all seats. The pro-government camp won about 12% of seats this time around, versus 65% four years ago. The vote saw record turnout of 71%, with more than 2.94 million people casting ballots — roughly double the number in the previous election.

The vote came at a time of unprecedented political polarization in the city, with divisions hardening as the protests become more disruptive and the government refuses to compromise. While the district councils are considered the lowest rung of Hong Kong’s government, the results will add pressure on the government to meet demands including an independent inquiry into police abuses and the ability to nominate and elect the city’s leader, including one who would stand up to Beijing.

Hong Kong stocks climbed Monday, with the Hang Seng Index rising 1.7%, opening above its 100-day moving average. The gain was led by developers and other stocks seen as most sensitive to the demonstrations. Analysts and investors also said the moves showed relief that the Sunday vote went ahead peacefully.

Speaking to reporters in Japan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the result wouldn’t change the fact that Hong Kong is part of Chinese territory. Leaders in Beijing have accused the U.S. and U.K. of meddling in Hong Kong affairs, and refuse to allow the city to have a leader who won’t be accountable to the central government.

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