US News Hong Kong-Reinforced security before the hearing of pro-democracy activists

11:40  01 march  2021
11:40  01 march  2021 Source:   rfi.fr

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HONG-KONG-SECURITY: Hong Kong-Reinforced security before the hearing of pro-democracy activists


by Jessie Pang and James Pomfret

HONG KONG (Reuters) - About a thousand people gathered outside a Hong Kong court on Monday before the hearing of 47 pro-democracy activists charged with conspiracy with a view to committing a subversive act, against a background of increased repression of the opposition carried out by the authorities under the national security law.

The activists are accused of having organized and participated in unofficial "primaries" last July in order to nominate pro-democracy candidates for the legislative elections, which were postponed by the government which cited the health crisis of the coronavirus .

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They were charged Sunday under the National Security Act passed last year, which punishes what China defines very broadly as acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers.

Security was stepped up on Monday morning outside the West Kowloon courthouse, with more than 100 police officers deployed as supporters of activists poured into what was one of the largest rallies since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

A long queue, stretching for several hundred meters, had formed in front of the entrance to the building. Several foreign diplomats were among the crowd.

Some chanted popular slogans during the 2019 anti-government protests in China's Special Administrative Region, such as “Free Hong Kong” and “Fight for Freedoms”.

In the past, authorities have indicated that campaigning for a majority in the Legislative Council - the local 70-seat parliament - with the aim of blocking government proposals and pushing for democratic reforms could be seen as an act subversive.

The case marks a further setback for the pro-democracy movement, as several elected officials have been disqualified and many activists arrested since the entry into force of the national security law last June, while other activists have fled abroad.

(French version Jean Terzian)

Thailand: Pro-democracy demonstration in Bangkok against the law on the crime of lese-majesté .
Heaps of junk were even deposited in front of the court and set on fire by some demonstrators © Sakchai Lalit / AP / SIPA Pro-democracy activists demonstrate in front of the court in Bangkok (Thailand) in early March 2021 against the lese majesté law and the constitution.

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