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Pro Democracy protesters start trial in HK

HK HIGH COURT

More than two years after they were detained in dawn police raids across the territory, the national security trial of dozens of people has started in Hong Kong. These defendants range from activists and legal experts to former pro-democracy politicians.

In order to select their candidates for the 2020 Legislative Council election, which the government later postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the defendants are accused of “subversion” for holding an unofficial primary.

Prior to the proceedings, there was a significant police presence outside the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts building, including officers with dogs.

Some people started lining up overnight for a place in the public gallery, and by morning the line had wrapped around the entire structure.

There is undoubtedly a lot of anger that this process has lasted so long and that individuals who have been held have been unable to speak out since their arrest.

Leung Kwok-hung, a well-known activist also known as “Long Hair,” and Gordon Ng Ching-hang, one of five people accused of being a “key organizer” of the primary, are among those indicted.

Leung Kwok-hung

“There isn’t a crime to explain. Acting against a totalitarian government is not illegal, defendant and former lawmaker Leung told the court.

In response, Judge Andrew Chan said that the hearing was a “solemn occasion” and he wished the defendants and the public respect.

Internationally renowned campaigners like Joshua Wong, Claudia Mo, a former journalist turned legislator, and Benny Tai, a legal expert and former academic, are among those who have entered guilty pleas.

Together, the 47 accused make up a large portion of what’s left of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy leadership after massive rallies for political reform in 2019 came to an impasse with the COVID-19 epidemic and many were forced into exile due to the national security law.

The primary was arranged so that the Democrats could nominate their strongest candidates for the Legco election. According to the prosecution, the primary was a “vicious scheme” to seize control of the city’s legislature and undermine the administration.

What kind of criminal activity or violent danger is running for the Legco election? Outside the court, Chan Po-ying, the League of Social Democrats’ chairwoman and Leung’s wife, spoke.

The trial is anticipated to last 90 days.

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