Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been arrested whilst en route to South Horizons MTR station.
The Demosisto secretary-general was pushed into a private vehicle on the street at 7.30am and escorted to the Wan Chai police headquarters, according to his colleague Nathan Law.
Police said Wong was detained for allegedly inciting, organising and participating in an unauthorised assembly at Wan Chai police headquarters on June 21.
That evening, thousands besieged the Wan Chai base chanting “release the righteous” and “shame on police thugs.” Eggs were thrown at the building, as others scrawled graffiti amid anger over alleged police misconduct during the anti-extradition law protests.
Law said their lawyers are working on the case.
BREAKING: Our secretary-general @joshuawongcf was just arrested this morning at roughly 7:30, when he was walking to the South Horizons MTR station. He was forcefully pushed into a private minivan on the street in broad daylight. Our lawyers following the case now.
— Demosistō 香港眾志
(@demosisto) August 30, 2019
It is unclear what charges are involved, though the arrest comes hours after pro-independence leader Andy Chan was detained at the airport and a day after a protest this Saturday was banned by police.
Issac Cheng, vice-chair of Demosisto, said the government should respond to protesters’ demands and stop threatening them to stop participating in demonstrations: “We believe that the high-profile arrests before the August 31 protest are because they want to spread white terror among the Hong Kong protesters and Hongkongers.”
“Secondly, they are accusing Demosisto members and different high-profile activists in the movement to try to create a fictional atmosphere that there are leaders leading the campaign… But I have to emphasise that, for the movement, it is recognised as leaderless and organisation-less, so there are no single leaders that can be leading the whole movement.”
Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said the dawn swoops were “ludicrous” and “an outrageous assault on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”
“At the very least, they must be released on bail as soon as possible… This past week, we have seen scare tactics straight out of Beijing’s playbook: pro-democracy protest organizers attacked by thugs, prominent activists arrested after being snatched from their homes and streets, and a major rally planned for Saturday banned,” he said.
He also called for the authorities to halt attacks on peaceful assembly and free expression.
Wong was released from prison on June 17 after serving a sentence related to the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.
Anger over Hong Kong’s ill-fated extradition bill – which would have allowed case-by-case fugitive transfers to China – and police behaviour have sparked ongoing protests since June. The demonstrations have evolved into – sometimes violent – displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment, democracy, alleged police brutality, surveillance and other community grievances. The Civil Human Rights Front decided to cancel Saturday’s anti-extradition law march after their bid to overturn a police ban failed.
Additional reporting: Kris Cheng.
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