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The Latest: Hong Kong leader votes in closely watched poll

Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, center, stands in line to vote outside of a polling place in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. Voting was underway Sunday in Hong Kong elections that have become a barometer of public support for anti-government protests now in their sixth month. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

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

9 a.m.

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has cast her vote in elections seen as a referendum on whether the public still supports long-running protests against her government.

She said Sunday that organizing this year’s district council elections was extremely challenging because of the unrest, but that the vote should be relatively peaceful and calm thanks to the efforts of all involved.

Protesters hope that a strong showing for the opposition will indicate that the public continues to support the pro-democracy movement, even as it has become more violent and disruptive to daily life.

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7:40 a.m.

Voting is underway in Hong Kong elections that have become a barometer of public support for anti-government protests now in their sixth month.

The polls opened Sunday morning for 452 seats in the city’s 18 district councils.

The councils are largely advisory and have little power. But the election has taken on symbolic importance in the semiautonomous Chinese territory.

A strong showing by the opposition would show that the public still supports the pro-democracy movement, even as the protests have become increasingly violent.

The ruling camp in Hong Kong and the national government in Beijing hope that the unrest and disruption to daily life will turn voters against the movement.

The Associated Press