As Hong Kong begins to mark the 15th anniversary of British handover of the colony to the Chinese on Sunday, protesters were targeting Chinese President Hu Jintao who was leading the events.

Hu swore in a new leader, Leung Chun-ying, for Hong Kong who will have to grapple with a number of challenges including human rights.

The demonstrators are demanding democracy and want China to stop interfering in the local affairs.

Leung was made chief executive by Beijing-backed elites and the protesters want an end to rule of a single-party system.

Leung's loyalty to Beijing was evident from the very language he uttered, not a single word of the official language of Hong Kong Cantonese, but only Mandarin Chinese. Cantonese is the major language in Hong Kong where close to 90 percent of the population speak that language.

The new chief executive, a millionaire, has been marred by scandals over an illegal construction before struggling to get to the top post.

The Chinese president once again insisted on the "one country, two systems" model in Hong Kong upholding the previous set-up which came into effect in 1997.

In his speech he said: "It has maintained its status as an international financial, trade and shipping centre. It has developed closer links with the mainland and broader contracts with the world. What has happened shows that "one country, two systems" is the right policy for Hong Kong and it is a policy full of vitality. It also shows that Hong Kong compatriots have the wisdom and capacity to manage, build and develop Hong Kong well," according to People's Daily.

During his speech, Hu was heckled by a protester who shouted against Chinese interference was promptly removed by the security personnel.

The event venue was secured by thousands of security officials and barricades were also in place to thwart mass protests.

Hours prior to the inaugural event, protesters were demonstrating and shouting slogans against Hu near the venue. Protesters were shouting "Battle the Communist Party! We will battle to the end!" and were seen burning Leung's pictures, according to an AFP report.

Scores of demonstrators have also been detained by the Hong Kong police. Reports suggest pepper sprays were used against the protesters.

Young performers take part in a parade during a handover anniversary gala show attended by thousands at Hong Kong StadiumReuters
Government officials and guests attend a flag raising ceremony outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition CentreReuters
A spectator poses for a photograph as Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy soldiers march past during a gala show at Hong Kong StadiumReuters
A member of the People's Liberation Army parachute brigade fires off fireworks during a gala show at Hong Kong StadiumReuters
The shadow of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is cast on the background as Chinese President Hu Jintao attends an inauguration of the new government in Hong KongReuters
Officials and guests attend a flag-raising ceremony outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition CentreReuters
Fishing vessels bearing both Chinese and Hong Kong flags sail in Hong Kong's Victoria harbourReuters
Students attend a flag-raising ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of the territory's handover to Chinese rule, in Hong KongReuters
Resident carrying Hong Kong and Chinese flags attends a flag-raising ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of the territory's handover to Chinese rule, in Hong KongReuters
Chief Executive Leung is greeted by Chinese President Hu during inaguration in Hong KongReuters
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung and his wife Regina wave during flag-raising ceremony to mark 15th anniversary of territory's handover to China, in Hong KongReuters
Protester, blocked by security guards, chants slogans as Chinese President Hu speaks at the inauguration of Hong Kong's new government in Hong KongReuters
Protester chants slogans as Chinese President Hu Jintao speaks at the inauguration of Hong Kong's new government in Hong KongReuters
Hong Kong is home one of the last-remaining encampments of 'Occupy' protesters.Reuters
Protesters get pepper spray from police during a protest in front of the hotel where Chinese President Hu Jintao is staying, in Hong KongReuters