Despite an onslaught of heavy rain as a typhoon neared, supporters assembled outside the court in the morning, chanting “Reclaim Hong Kong, the revolution of our time!”
Rioting is the most serious charge brought by the authorities since mass demonstrations broke out early June, plunging Hong Kong into its worst political turmoil since the former British colony was returned to Beijing.
It’s likely to further enrage protesters, who first demanded the formal withdrawal of an extradition bill that would send suspects to face trial in mainland China, where Communist Party control of the courts contributes to a 99.9 per-cent conviction rate.
Protesters have since expanded their demands to include the resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam, the convening of an independent commission to investigate police brutality against the protesters, and the release of those arrested – at least 170 people so far.
Continuing unrest is fuelling concerns that China’s central government in Beijing might deploy the military, which would be reminiscent of the 1989 bloody crackdown in Tiananmen Square.
The US government is monitoring a congregation of Chinese forces along the border to Hong Kong, though the nature of the build-up isn’t clear, reported Bloomberg, citing an anonymous White House official.