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Iran Press TV

Hong Kong police arrest 15 over last year's violent rallies

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 19 April 2020 10:30 AM

Police in Hong Kong have arrested more than a dozen high-profile activists and campaigners as part of a sweeping operation aimed at bringing to justice organizers of violent anti-government rallies in the Chinese territory last year.

Local media reported on Saturday that police had arrested 15 individuals over charges of organizing and taking part in unlawful assemblies as well as publicizing unauthorized public meetings, particularly from August through October 2019.

Among those arrested were Martin Lee – a prominent Democratic Party founder and senior barrister who is known as one of the architects of the city's Basic Law – and Jimmy Lai, a media tycoon and the founder of the anti-Beijing newspaper Apple Daily.

Police said all 15 individuals were scheduled to appear in court in mid-May.

The arrests come after a period of relative calm amid a partial coronavirus lockdown that put a lid on months of anti-government demonstrations and violent rallies in Hong Kong.

The city had been rocked by turbulent protests since June last year, when the government of the semi-autonomous territory proposed a bill that would have reformed the city's extradition law. The bill was later withdrawn, but protests continued and took on violent forms.

More than 7,000 people have been taken into custody for their involvement in the protests since June last year, with many having been charged with rioting, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The Chinese government says the United States and Britain fanned the flames of the unrest in Hong Kong by supporting the rioters.

Hong Kong has been governed under a "one-country, two-system" model since the city – a former British colony – was returned to China in 1997.

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