Police in Hong Kong have released on bail nine leaders of the 2014 ‘Umbrella Revolution’ after charging them with public nuisance offences.
It comes 27 months after the pro-democracy street protests ended and one day after a Beijing-dominated election committee selected Carrie Lam as the city’s next leader.
Co-founder of the Occupy Central movement, Benny Tai, was adamant those charged would fight for justice.
“We face very lengthy lawsuits. No matter what the results are, we won’t give up. We will never give up,” he said.
The nine are due to appear in court on Thursday (March 30). Tai said the charges carry a maximum sentence of seven years, adding the group may plead guilty in a spirit of civil disobedience.
While the Department of Justice claims the delayed charges are based on new evidence and legal considerations, activists allege Lam’s predecessor is trying to tidy up loose ends before the handover of power on July 1.
Leung Chun-ying’s term as Chief Executive of Hong Kong has been dominated by the protests. Parts of the city for 79 days when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to demand the right to elect their leader.
The DOJ denies the court case is linked to the recent election of Carrie Lam.