Charges against 44 anti-government demonstrators sparked new protests in hong kong. Despite heavy rain, dozens of protesters gathered outside a court wednesday morning where the accused were to be brought before the judge.
43 of the 44 protesters have been released on bail, according to a report in the hongkong newspaper south china morning post. Many of them were also banned from leaving the city at night. One of the accused protesters did not show up for the court hearing. The protesters were accused of rioting and participating in a "riot".
The 44 protesters scheduled to appear in court wednesday were part of a group of 49 like-minded people arrested sunday after rioting at an unauthorized mass protest. Police did not rule out the possibility of more indictments to follow.
Several hundred people had already gathered outside a police station on tuesday evening to demonstrate against the charge. Once again there were clashes. Eggs flew from the crowd at the station in kwai chung while police tried to disperse the protesters with pepper spray.
At another police station, in front of which demonstrators had gathered, people were injured with fireworks early wednesday morning. Videos circulated via social media showed a car driving past the tin shui wai police station and fireworks being shot from it towards the station and protesters. Six injured, according to police, who announced an investigation into the incident.
Protest marches with hundreds of thousands of participants have been taking place in the financial metropolis for weeks now. A controversial bill to extradite suspected criminals to china was voted out of court. Hong kong’s chief executive, carrie lam, has since declared the law "dead," but she has not responded to the protesters’ demand that the bill be formally withdrawn. The protests are also directed against the police, who are accused of being too harsh during this summer’s demonstrations.
The former british crown colony of hong kong has been governed autonomously as a separate territory under the principle of "one country, two systems" since it was returned to china in 1997. Unlike the people of the people’s republic, hongkongers enjoy the right to freedom of speech, press and assembly. But more and more hongkongers fear that the leadership in peking wants to curtail their rights.