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Hong Kong People Are Protesting After 47 Pro-Democracy Activists Were Charged Under The National Security Law

Hundreds of people gathered to protest outside a court in Hong Kong on Sunday Feb. 28, when Hong Kong police charged 47 pro-democracy activists and politicians with conspiracy to commit subversion.

Protesters chanted slogans such as “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” and “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” while holding bright yellow signs that read “release all political prisoners.”

Police warned the crowds that they could be considered breaching the National Security Law or illegal-assembly rules. The demonstration was the largest seen in Hong Kong in the past year, since the city imposed restrictions to fight the pandemic and the enactment of the national security law in June.

Protesters gather outside court in Hong Kong following 47 activists charged for conspiring to commit sedition.
Pro-democracy supporters make hand signs outside the West Kowloon court in Hong Kong on Mar. 1, 2021, ahead of court appearances by dozens of dissidents charged with subversion. (Photo by Peter PARKS / AFP via Getty Images)

The 47 defendants, including 39 men and 8 women, aged between 23 and 64, were part of the 55 people arrested in dawn raids last month in the biggest crackdown under the national security law imposed by China.

Hong Kong supporters gathered in London to show support for 47 activists charged.
Ted Hui (C), a former Legislative Council member who is in exile, joins demonstration in Piccadilly Circus in London to express solidarity in support of the 47 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists charged with conspiracy to subvert state power. (Photo by May James/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The individuals were accused of “subverting state power” for independently organizing and participating in primaries in July to pick opposition pro-democracy candidates for the Hong Kong Legislative Council election in September. The election was later postponed by chief executive Carrie Lam, who cited coronavirus concerns.

Joshua Wong, prominent pro-democracy activist, charged under national security law along with 47 other activists.
Joshua Wong, activist and former members of pro-democracy party Demosisto, arrives at the Lai Chi Kok Reception Center during an adjournment of his arraignment in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021. (Photo by Chan Long Hei/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The defendants, who were charged on Sunday and remain in detention, include some of Hong Kong’s most prominent activists, such as student protest leader Joshua Wang, anti-government media tycoon Jimmy Lai, and law professor Benny Tai.

Benny Tai, one of 47 activists from Hong Kong, charged for conspiring to commit sedition
Benny Tai, associate professor and co-founder of activist group Occupy Central with Love and Peace arrives at the Ma On Shan Police Station after being bailed on Feb. 28, 2021 in Hong Kong, China. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

All of them face life in prison if convicted, the Guardian reported, leaving nearly every main voice of dissent in Hong Kong in jail or in exile.

Hong Kong supporters in London gathered to show support for 47 activists charged
About 50 Hong Kong supporters gathered in Piccadilly Circus in London to express solidarity in support of the 47 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists charged with conspiracy to subvert state power. (Photo by May James/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Court proceedings began on Monday Mar. 1 and stretched into the early hours of Tuesday, when the judge adjourned the case after a defendant, Clarisse Yeung, a member of the district council, fainted and was sent to the hospital.

Three others were hospitalized due to exhaustion after the marathon session was adjourned, according to Reuters.

More on Hong Kong
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