The trial against the nine leaders of the "Umbrella Revolution", which mobilized thousands of people in 2014 to demand democratic progress in Hong Kong, began today with a strong media presence and sympathizers gathered outside the court.
Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man, Chu Yiu-ming, Tanya Chan, Shiu Ka-chun, Raphael Wong, Tommy Cheung, Eason Chung and Lee Wing-tat are being tried in the West Kowloon court for their participation in the protests and they face a sentence of up to seven years in prison on charges such as incitement and conspiracy to disrupt public order.
According to the Public Radio and Television of Hong Kong (RTHK), the prosecutor Andrew Bruce said today at the beginning of the court hearing that the actions of the accused were "unreasonable", and that the almost three months of known street occupation as the "Umbrella Revolution" caused "interruptions" and "affected the rights of other people."
For their part, the leaders of the movement today declared themselves "not guilty" of the charges, according to Hong Kong television, which highlighted the strong media presence and sympathizers of the movement that have gathered outside the judiciary to show their support for the defendants. .
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), some 200 protesters have been prosecuted so far for their participation in the social movement and dozens have been convicted in various charges, including illegal rally, possession of offensive weapons and common assault.
Three student leaders of the "Umbrella Revolution", Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law, were finally cleared of charges last February for their involvement in the riots after more than a year of legal disputes.
HRW denounced that since these protests in 2014, the governments of Hong Kong and China have increasingly restricted civil liberties.
An example of the deterioration of freedoms was the illegalization on September 24 of the National Party of Hong Kong, a movement without parliamentary representation that openly advocated for the independence of the British exile from the rest of China.