Leaders of the Umbrella Movement sentenced
by Paul Wang

The none include three founders of Occupy Central: the academicians Chan Kin-man and Benny Tai, and the Baptist pastor Chu Yiu-ming. Welcomed and applauded by democratic groups that exhibited yellow umbrellas. Benny Tai: "We will persist on and do not give up."


Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Nine democratic leaders, responsible for the Umbrella Movement, were found guilty for their role in the civil disobedience movement known as "Occupy Central", which for over two months blocked major communication routes on Hong Kong between the neighborhoods of Admiralty, Central and Wan Chai with a huge sit-in.

The verdict states that the nine are guilty of conspiracy to cause public disorder; some of them are also guilty of inciting others to obstruct public order.

The three main perpetrators, called "the Occupy trio", are sociology professor Chan Kin-man, 59, law professor Benny Tai, 54, Baptist pastor Chu Yiu-ming, 74.

Among the other convicts there are: the parliamentarians Tanya Chan (47 years) and Shiu Ka-chun (49 years); Student leaders Tommy Cheung Sau-yin (26) and Eason Chung Yiu-wa (26); the vice president of the Democratic Social League Raphael Wong Ho-ming (30); former Democratic MP Lee Wing-tat (63).  They all risk seven years in prison and more. Some student leaders were also sentenced last year.

Occupy Central protests began in the summer of 2014, after Beijing's latest refusal to guarantee direct elections of the head of the Hong Kong executive, once again delaying full democracy for the territory, promised many times by the Politburo.

After its foundation, a student demonstration was violently blocked by the police. This sparked the 79-day sit-in in central districts, which brought together at least 800,000 people. The name "Umbrella Movement" comes from the use of umbrellas by young people to defend themselves against water cannons and tear gas used by the police.

This morning, before entering the West Kowloon court, Benny Tai said: " No matter what happens today... we will persist on and do not give up." Upon their arrival they were greeted by several pro-democratic groups who applauded them, carrying many yellow umbrellas, which became the symbol of their struggle.

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