07/31/2019, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Extradition Act: 44 protesters charged with revolt, risk 10 years in prison

by Paul Wang

The accused are 16 to 43 years old. They include teachers, students, pilots, cooks, employees, nurses, workers, unemployed. Most were released on bail. Until the trial they have to go to the police station once a week. Outside the court, the protesters promise to continue the fight. Protestant leader Chu Yiu-ming, leader of Occupy Central: the government "uses the police to crack down on  our next generation". Criticism of Carrie Lam and China.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Forty-four protesters against the law on extradition, aged between 16 and 43, have been accused of "revolt", an offense that can be punished with 10 years in prison. The accused were arrested last July 28, during an unauthorized demonstration in Central and in the west of the island, which ended with some clashes with the police.

Forty-three protesters were released on bail (1000 Hong Kong dollars) and the majority of them are required to observe a curfew from midnight to 6 am. A 44th demonstrator, a 22-year-old employee, who did not appear at the court, was arrested. A 45th, a 24-year-old university student, was not accused of revolt, but of possession of weapons of offense and was also released on bail.

Until the trial, all of them must report to the police station once a week.

The accused include teachers, students, aircraft pilots, cooks, employees, nurses, workers, unemployed.

This is the first time that a court has accused the protesters of the anti-extradition movement of "revolt". The movement gena as a protest last June 9 to block the China extradition law, wanted by the Hong Kong government, the demonstrations - which have gathered up to over 2 million people - demand more democracy, guarantees for Hong Kong's freedom against the too much influence from China, an independent investigation into police violence, resignation of the chief executive Carrie Lam.

Two days ago, China praised the government's behavior and police action, demanding the condemnation of the violence (of the protesters). But the protests show no sign of diminishing. Today,  there were hundreds of young people demonstrating in favor of the defendants in front of the Eastern Court, where the charges were heard and they promised to continue the fight (see photo).

Rev. Chu Yiu-ming, one of the founders of Occupy Central, the pro-democracy movement that emerged in 2014 was among those present. He said "It is disheartening to see them arrested, for we aspire to a civil society, but the government is using police to crack down on our next generation. It’s just pathetic.”".

Parliamentarian Kwok Ka-ki said the sentences against demonstrators and the use of force by the police will worsen the situation. For the Dr. Kwok, those responsible are the chief executive Carrie Lam, nominated by Beijing, and China. Beijing's support for the police, he added, does not heal the wounds of the territory.

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