Pro-democracy candidates buoyed by months of street protests in Hong Kong appeared headed to a stunning victory in local elections on Sunday, as record numbers voted in a vivid expression of the city’s aspirations and its anger with the Chinese government.

It was a pointed rebuke for Beijing and its allies in Hong Kong, and the turnout — nearly seven in 10 eligible voters — suggested that the public continues to back the democracy movement, even as the protests have grown increasingly violent. The surge was driven especially by young voters, a major force behind the demonstrations of the past six months.

With three million voters casting ballots, pro-democracy parties captured at least 201 of 452 elected seats, up from 124, and perhaps many more, according to local media outlets tallying early official results.

To many democracy advocates, Sunday was a turning point for the movement.