Hong Kong court docket finds 7 democracy activists responsible of unauthorized meeting

Seven pro-democracy advocates have been convicted Thursday for organizing and taking part in an illegal meeting throughout huge anti-government protests in 2019, as Hong Kong continues its crackdown on dissent.

The seven activists embody media tycoon and founding father of the Apple Each day tabloid Jimmy Lai, in addition to 82-year-old Martin Lee, a veteran of the town’s democracy motion. Lai had already held with out bail on different expenses associated to his pro-democracy actions.

The group of activists have been convicted for his or her involvement in a protest held on Aug. 18, 2019. Organizers of the protest say that 1.7 million individuals marched that day in protest of a proposed invoice that might have allowed prison suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial.

Forward of the trial, supporters and a number of the defendants gathered outdoors court docket, shouting slogans like “Oppose political persecution” and “5 calls for, not one much less,” in reference to calls for by pro-democracy supporters that embody amnesty for these arrested within the protests in addition to common suffrage.

“So on this present day, in a really tough scenario in Hong Kong, political retaliation is on us,” stated Lee Cheuk-yan, one of many defendants forward of the court docket session.

Professional-democracy activist Lee Cheuk-yan waves to supporters as he arriving on the West Kowloon Courts for verdicts in landmark illegal meeting case, in Hong Kong on Thursday. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

“We’ll nonetheless march on it doesn’t matter what lies sooner or later. We imagine within the individuals of Hong Kong, in our brothers and sisters in our wrestle, and the victory is ours if the individuals of Hong Kong are persistent,” he stated.

Hong Kong was rocked by months of protests within the second half of 2019, sparked by the extradition invoice. The invoice was finally withdrawn, however the protests expanded to incorporate full democracy and different calls for and at occasions descended into violence between protesters and police.

Within the aftermath of the protests, Beijing has taken a harder stance on dissent, implementing a nationwide safety regulation on Hong Kong and approving electoral reforms that would scale back the general public’s function in voting in lawmakers for the town’s legislature.

Participating in an illegal meeting or a riot in Hong Kong may end up in a most sentence of as much as 10 years imprisonment for severe offences.

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