Hong Kong, thousands march for democracy on Chinese national holiday

A day not for celebration, but for "national sadness" for the "status of the rule of law in Hong Kong." The memory of the three young Occupy Central activists sentenced to months in jail by will of the city government. "Political persecution" also for co-founders of umbrella movement. Demonstrators call for the resignation of justice secretary Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, branded Beijing’s "puppet".

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thousands of young people and adults marched in downtown Hong Kong yesterday calling for democracy and criticizing Beijing's growing influence, which is endangering the rule of law in the territory. Yesterday was also the national celebration of the Chinese People's Republic celebrated by the Hong Kong government with speeches and a great firework display in the evening.

Yesterday's march was in protest at the arrest of three young pro-democracy activists, among the leaders of the Occupy Central movement, the sit-in that in 2014 brought downtown Hong Kong to a standstill, demanding universal suffrage and free election of the district governor, against the will of Beijing.

The three young leaders - Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow - after a light sentence to community service, last August were prosecuted and sentenced to months in jail by will of the city government. Reflecting this, demonstrators carried signs and photos of the justice secretary Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung demanding his resignation, accusing him of "political persecution" and not being in the service of the law but of Beijing.

The march was also attended by Lam Wing-kee, one of the book-publishers seized in Hong Kong and brought to China together with the founders of Occupy Central, Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man, and Pastor Chu Yi-ming. The three must undergo a process of public order disturbance, for their role in the manifestations of 2014.

Most demonstrators dressed in black shirts in mourning signalling that the first of October, China's National Holiday, was not a celebration, but a day of "national sadness."

Some protesters interviewed by Scmp described Kimsky Yuen Kwok-keung as Beijing ‘s "puppet". "I am very upset about the rule of law in Hong Kong," says David Lok. "It has become a joke." Many international organizations point out Beijing's influence even on Hong Kong's judiciary. But the Carrie Lam government claims independence and that there is no interference from China.

The organizers estimate the participation of the event from Victoria Park to Causeway Bay at 40,000. Police say that there were only 4,000 participants.