hong kong student leader wong faces trial over democracy rally
Last Updated : GMT 10:30:02
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Hong Kong student leader Wong faces trial over democracy rally

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Hong Kong student leader Wong faces trial over democracy rally

Student protester Joshua Wong
Hong Kong - AFP

Prominent Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong vowed to continue his fight for democracy Friday as a trial date was set over a protest that sparked mass rallies in the city.

Wong, 19, will face trial in February for the demonstration on September 26 last year which saw students climb into the city's government complex as part of a campaign for free leadership elections.

It triggered wider rallies that exploded two days later when police fired tear gas to disperse crowds in central Hong Kong.

Wong is charged with "unlawful assembly and inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly," relating to the September 26 incident.

The teenager was in court Friday for a half-hour hearing which set the trial date for February 29. It is scheduled to last seven days.

Wong could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

"I really hope to use this process in court to raise global awareness for the Hong Kong issue -- that we still keep fighting for democracy," Wong told AFP after the hearing.

Wong, a university student, also faces two other separate cases over protests last year and said the multiple court appearances were "exhausting".

He has repeatedly described the cases against him as political and has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.  

A number of activists are facing court cases -- fellow student leaders Nathan Law and Alex Chow will also face trial in February over the September 26 protest.

Wong recently returned from a trip to London which coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit, where Wong slammed Britain for putting business with China before democracy in Hong Kong.

He said Friday that he was "really disappointed" in British prime minister David Cameron.

Last year's rallies came after Beijing said candidates for Hong Kong's next leader must be vetted by a loyalist committee.

But despite the protests, authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong refused to budge on political reform.

Since then Wong has said activists must turn to longer term strategies to bring change, and launched a court bid this month demanding the age limit for candidates to stand for election in the city be lowered from 21 to 18.

"I want to bring the voice of the new generation from the street to the (legislative) council," Wong told AFP Friday.

 

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