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The Latest: Christian march joins Hong Kong's protest

A protester holds a poster that reads " Stop black police disrupting Hong Kong, implement five demands" as during a pro-democracy protest in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. Hundreds of people are rallying in an athletic park in central Hong Kong as a 13th-straight weekend of pro-democracy protests gets underway. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

HONG KONG — The Latest on the protests in Hong Kong (all times local):

2 p.m.

Hundreds of people have begun marching in central Hong Kong in what organizers are calling a Christian protest.

After gathering Saturday at an athletic park, they headed to a nearby Methodist church. The crowd alternated between singing hymns and chanting the slogans of the pro-democracy movement that has taken to the streets of Hong Kong for more than two months.

Authorities turned down an application from another group for a major march, but they were preparing for expected unauthorized demonstrations.

Religious meetings do not require police approval, but police said late Friday that a procession with more than 30 people does.

An online flyer for the march said it would go from the church to police headquarters and then the official residence of the city’s leader.

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1:30 p.m.

Hundreds of people are rallying in an athletic park in central Hong Kong as a 13th straight weekend of pro-democracy protests gets underway.

A crowd of both young and old pumped their fists as they chanted slogans in the stands of the soccer field at Southorn Playground early Saturday afternoon.

Authorities are shutting down streets and subway service about 5 kilometres (3 miles) west near the Chinese government’s office in Hong Kong. They warned that a public event may cause severe disruptions.

Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of a decision by China’s ruling Communist Party against fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.

Organizers have called off a planned march to the Chinese government office after police denied permission for it, but some protesters may demonstrate anyway.

The Associated Press