Kris Cheng, Hong Kong Free Press
This article was first published on HKFP under the headline: Pro-democracy activists urge Hongkongers to join ‘final’ protest on Sunday with ‘political prisoners’
Pro-democracy activists have urged the public to march on Sunday against the “authoritarian” regime. They say it may be the last opportunity before several activists are possibly jailed.
Demosisto’s Joshua Wong, who was released on bail from prison last month, said the city’s jailed activists had missed opportunities to march with supporters in August and October. He said it was likely that he would be jailed alongside Lester Shum, Raphael Wong and others. All are defendants in a case relating to the clearance of the Mong Kok Occupy protest camp in 2014. Sentences for the case – which is separate to Wong’s other Occupy-related conviction – will be handed down next Thursday.
They will march from the Southorn Playground in Wan Chai to the Court of Final Appeal in Central at 2:30pm.
Raphael Wong, who was released on bail after he was sentenced to 13 months over a development-related protest, said: “We must use our numbers to tell those in power… that those in jail are not alone.”
He said five of the 13 people jailed for the protest against the North Eastern New Territories development plan are still behind bars: “We will not forget them.”
“Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, a veteran lawmaker disqualified by a court following government legal action, said he remembered the scene in August when activists rallied outside the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre, whilst 16 jailed activists were held inside.
“I believe when they heard our noises from inside, they will have thought ‘they have not forgotten us’,” he said.
Fellow ex-lawmaker Nathan Law, who is also on bail from prison, said he indeed heard the rally from inside: “We must tell our friends facing persecution that, although we face a lot of difficulties from Beijing, do not be afraid – we have Hong Kong people behind our backs.”
Avery Ng, chair of the pro-democracy League of Social Democrats, said most of the top members of his party and Wong’s Demosisto party had been jailed, or are facing imprisonment.
He warned of stronger suppression with the potential legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law – the national security law: “We could all be sent to jail with Article 23.”
Civic Party lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said the situation in the legislature was also dangerous as the pro-Beijing camp was seeking to change the rules: “One Country, One System is coming soon.”
Political parties and groups are raising funds for those in jail.
“We face countless court cases, in which the government burns though our resources with these persecutions,” said Ng. “To be realistic, I hope marchers on Sunday will prepare more donations.”