Tens of thousands of residents gather to march in downtown streets during an annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong Tuesday. Pic: AP.

HONG KONG (AP) — Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents began marching through the streets of the former British colony to push for greater democracy in a rally fuelled by anger over Beijing’s recent warning that it holds the ultimate authority over the southern Chinese financial center.

Organizers expect at least 150,000 to join the Tuesday afternoon march to press for reforms allowing residents to elect their leader.

The protest comes days after nearly 800,000 voted in a mock referendum aimed at bolstering support for full democracy.

Ahead of the rally, a group of protesters burned a copy of a White Paper released by China’s Cabinet this month that had enraged many residents. The document said that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is not inherent but is authorized by the central government.