Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Protests erupted this morning at Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo) when the Special Administrative Region's chief executive addressed the assembly in his first speech since last year's Occupy Central-led demonstrations.
As Leung Chun-ying started to make his way to the podium of the chamber, some 20 pan-democrat lawmakers began shouting slogans and put up yellow umbrellas - a symbol of the pro-democracy street protests. Before he could start his address, they left the chamber.
This morning's was Leung's third policy address since he took office. He has been criticised by pro-democracy advocates for failing to communicate to mainland China the demands of the population vis-à-vis true universal suffrage.
He has also been criticised for the way he handled two months of protests sparked by the reform proposals China's made last August, which would prevent real democracy in Hong Kong.
Despite LegCo speaker Tsang Yok-sing's calls to order, protesting members shouted "Shame on you". For his part, Leung kept a smile on his face throughout the commotion, which lasted several minutes.
Outside the LegCo building, about a hundred demonstrators from major political parties staged a rally. Despite the presence of scores of police officers, the protest was peaceful.
Alan Leong, who was among those who walked out of LegCo, said that Leung failed to address Hongkongers' demands for real democracy and did not deserve the public's respect, or the right to give a policy address as chief executive.
Speaking outside the chamber after the walkout, Leong said that Leung owed peaceful protesters an apology for firing tear gas at them, adding that the walkout meant to show "unreserved and unequivocal discontentment" against the administration.
Unfazed by the protests, in his speech to Hong Kong's legislature, Leung Chun-ying made no concessions to protesters, going so far as questioning their "understanding" of the intricacies of politics in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
"Hong Kong's power originates from the central authorities (in Beijing)," Leung said. Whilst "Hong Kong's autonomy . . . is a high degree of autonomy," it is "not an absolute autonomy."