The preliminary trial of an unauthorized assembly on Oct. 1, 2019 began on Monday. Adjourned till May 17, the case will be presided over by district court judge Amanda Woodcock, who sent Jimmy Lai and other leading pro-democracy figures to jail last Friday for their participation in a peaceful assembly in August 2019.
Lai, founder of Apple Daily, activists and former lawmakers Lee Cheuk-yan and Leung Kwok-hung, who are already in prison, are among the 10 defendants in this case.
Other defendants arrived at the Wan Chai District Court on Monday afternoon. “Protests and rallies are our basic rights, Hong Kong people, don’t give up,” they shouted before entering the courthouse.
Speaking before the legal proceedings began, Richard Tsoi of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China asserted that the group is determined to hold the June 4 annual vigil this year. But it will depend on how police respond, he added.
Tsoi stressed that it is not necessary to make meaningless predictions at this point of time. The group hopes to continue the public event and the police have the responsibility to assist peaceful assemblies and protests, he said.
Another defendant in the case, Figo Chan, convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front, noted that every pro-democracy politician is facing at least three to four charges. He called on Hongkongers to persist in their ideals and beliefs and become the best version of themselves in their hearts.
Yeung Sum, former chairperson of the Democratic Party, urged Hong Kong people to speak their minds and express their opinions. “Despite facing criminal punishment, we have no regrets and must defend our basic rights,” he added.
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