Five members of Demosistō, the pro-democracy political party that was launched in April, are facing prosecution after they were arrested Thursday for attempting to block the motorcade of visiting Chinese leader Zhang Dejiang.
Demosistō chairman Nathan Law Kwun-chung, secretary general Joshua Wong Chi-fung and three other party members were charged with disorderly conduct in a public place and obstructing police officers in the execution of their duties, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
As Zhang’s motorcade was passing through the Eastern Corridor Thursday morning, the pro-democracy activists were waiting at the entrance of a tunnel in an attempt to stop Zhang’s car.
The planned demonstration ended in failure as the police detained the youth and took them away.
Zhang and his team had been on their way to visit an elderly home in Tseung Kwan O when the incident took place.
Police condemned the Demosistō members’ behavior, accusing them of an illegal act as they tried to a stage a protest outside a designated zone.
The activists were released on HK$500 bail each Thursday night after the police conducted searches on their homes.
Demosistō, meanwhile, said its members were merely trying to convey to Zhang the strong feelings that Hong Kong people have in relation to the city’s future.
The party noted in a statement that a decision taken on Aug. 31, 2014 by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, which is chaired by Zhang, took away Hongkongers’ right to elect their leader through universal suffrage, Apple Daily reported.
The attempted ambush on the NPC chief Thursday was aimed at telling him that nothing can stop locals from seeking self-determination for Hong Kong, it said.
Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a senior lecturer in the department of government and public administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told Ming Pao Daily that that the extensive security measures taken by the police during Zhang’s three-day visit were understandable.
The police sought to protect the high-ranking official due to heightened tensions in the wake of independence calls by some radical groups, and the debate over a second term for Hong Kong’s incumbent leader Leung Chun-ying, he said.
Choy said he is hopeful that tensions will ease in the city as Zhang has made some reassuring comments, including on the issue of localism, during his visit.
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