Hong Kong police detained at least 14 activists from the pro-democratic movement accused by the organization of unauthorized protests in 2019, the local press said on Saturday.
The political party of the League of Social Democrats confirmed on Facebook that its president, Raphael Wong, vice president Leung Kwok-hung and secretary general Avery Ng are among those arrested, according to EFE.
Former lawmakers such as Martin Lee Chu-ming and Lee Cheuk-yan, who previously belonged to the Democratic Party, and Figo Chan Ho-wun, deputy coordinator of the Civil Rights Front, were also detained, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.
Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, founder of the Apple Daily, was also detained, known for his support for the pro-democracy movement and his opposition to the pro-Beijing government.
All detainees are accused of organizing the prohibited protests held on August 18, October 1 and October 20 last year, the newspaper said.
Some of them had already been detained due to the banned demonstration on August 31, which marked the thirteenth consecutive weekend of protests in Hong Kong and was attended by tens of thousands of people despite the heavy rain that day.
It was on that day that the police decided to use water cannons dyed blue for the first time.
The October 1 protest, which took place while Beijing celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, ended with a critical shooting, dozens of detainees and the release of tear gas.
Later, on the 20th of the same month, another protest took place that called for a reform of the police force and ended also with serious injuries, blocked roads and the launch of Molotov cocktails.
In recent months, Hong Kong officials have stepped up their efforts to put pressure on dissidents and, since the protests began in March last year, they have detained or fined numerous activists and prominent figures in the pro-democracy struggle.
The protests began in opposition to a controversial proposal for an extradition law that, according to activists, could allow Beijing to gain access to “fugitives” refugees in the former British colony, but the reasons ended up widening.
The protesters make five demands: the definitive withdrawal of the extradition law, the release of detained protesters, that the actions of the protests are not identified as riots, an independent investigation into police violence, the dismissal of the head of government Carrie Lam and universal suffrage in the elections for this post and for the Legislative Council, the Hong Kong parliament.
The demonstrations, which mobilized hundreds of thousands of people and registered serious clashes with the police.
The protests, meanwhile, have been suspended due to the covid-19 pandemic, but followers of the pro-democratic movement have already warned that when the health crisis ends they intend to return to the streets for further demonstrations.