Hong Kong: Pro-democracy activists arrested in outrageous assault on freedom of expression
This past week, we have seen scare tactics straight out of Beijing’s playbook: pro-democracy protest organizers attacked by thugs, prominent activists arrested after being snatched from their homes and streets, and a major rally planned for Saturday banned.
Responding to the arrests in Hong Kong of prominent pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow on Friday morning and independence activist Andy Chan on Thursday night, Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said:
“The ludicrous dawn swoops by police to arrest Agnes Chow and Joshua Wong are an outrageous assault on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. At the very least, they must be released on bail as soon as possible.
“This past week, we have seen scare tactics straight out of Beijing’s playbook: pro-democracy protest organizers attacked by thugs, prominent activists arrested after being snatched from their homes and streets, and a major rally planned for Saturday banned.
“The authorities must end this concerted attack on the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly. It is vital that the authorities send a clear message that people in Hong Kong can still enjoy these rights irrespective of their political beliefs.”
On Friday morning, police arrested Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow of pro-democracy party Demosisto. Police bundled Joshua Wong into an unmarked van as he walked to a metro station, according to Demosisto. He has been arrested on suspicion of inciting, organizing and taking part in an unlawful assembly, according to media reports.
Agnes Chow was arrested at her home for allegedly inciting and taking part in an unlawful assembly. The charges relate to a protest outside Hong Kong police headquarters on 21 June.
Andy Chan, convener of the Hong Kong National Party, was arrested on Thursday evening at Hong Kong Airport. He is being held on suspicion of rioting and assaulting a police officer. The Hong Kong government prohibited the operation of Hong Kong National Party in September 2018 “in the interests of national security” and public safety.
On Thursday, Jimmy Sham, the organizer of the recent large-scale peaceful pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, was attacked by masked men wielding a baseball bat and a large knife.
Police have banned a major rally planned for Saturday, which marks the fifth anniversary of Beijing rejecting genuine universal suffrage for the election of Hong Kong’s leader. An appeal by protest organizers against the ban was rejected on Friday.