pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow freed

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow was released from prison on Saturday June 12. The 24-year-old spent seven months in prison for her role during the 2019 protests outside the police headquarters. Expected by several journalists on her release from prison, she however made no comment.

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His release comes two years to the day after the big demonstrations that had invaded the streets of the former British colony in defense of democracy. On June 12, 2019, thousands of people surrounded the seat of the Hong Kong legislature in an attempt to prevent the passage of a law favoring extraditions, including of opponents, to mainland China.

The brutal dispersal of these demonstrators by the police did not prevent a strong mobilization in favor of democracy for more than seven months. The Chinese authorities refused to give in and imposed on Hong Kong a so-called national security law, which allowed the arrest of more than a hundred people, including Agnes Chow.

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Dozens of them have been brought to justice, including Hong Kong press mogul Jimmy Lai. Most have not been granted bail and face life sentences if they stand trial.

Calls to demonstrate

Some 2,000 police officers were placed on alert on Saturday as calls for demonstrations were launched on social networks to commemorate the protests.

The authorities however maintained a ban on demonstrations decided to fight against the pandemic due to the coronavirus, although only three new contaminations were identified last month.

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Demonstrations are now almost all banned but birthdays, like Saturday’s, remain moments of tension. On Friday, two activists from a pro-democracy group were arrested after being accused of calling for a banned rally.

Authorities last week banned a rally to commemorate China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown on June 4. The traditional vigil held each year in Victoria Park has been banned for the first time in 32 years. Many Hong Kong people, however, have not given up on demonstrating by lighting candles or the light on their cell phones.

The World with AFP