Nine leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests in Hong Kong will stand trial on 19 November 2018. The vague and ambiguous charges, each carrying a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment, stem solely from their non-violent direct actions in largely peaceful protests that are protected under international human rights law. It appears that these prosecutions are intended as a pretext to deter peaceful protests, especially those related to sensitive issues such as Hong Kong’s autonomy or the promotion of democracy.
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