Hong Kong Releases Pro-Democracy Leader

Joshua Wong vows to join protests
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 17, 2019 12:11 AM CDT
Hong Kong Releases Pro-Democracy Leader
Protesters march on the streets against an extradition bill in Hong Kong on Sunday, June 16, 2019.   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Joshua Wong, a leading figure in Hong Kong's 2014 Umbrella Movement demonstrations, was released from prison on Monday and vowed to soon join the latest round of protests, the AP reports. Wong's release from the Lai Chi Kok Correctional Facility came as student demonstrators and police were gathered near the city's government headquarters after a protest on Sunday that organizers said drew nearly 2 million people. He told waiting journalists he needed a bit of time but, "No matter what happens, I will join the protest soon." Wong, 22, served a two-month sentence for contempt related to his involvement in the 2014 protests advocating a more democratic elections process in the former British colony.

Protesters cleared out of Hong Kong's streets Monday, averting possible clashes with police, but stayed near government headquarters to press their demands that the city's leader resign and abandon an extradition bill that stoked fears of Beijing's expanding control. The legislation has been suspended, but the activists saw it as undermining legal rights and judicial independence. The activists have rejected an apology from Chief Executive Carrie Lam for her handling of the legislation. If Lam "does not respond to the demands by the protesters, people will come back and the struggle will continue," says Lee Cheuk-yan, an activist and former legislator. He says now is the time to talk about strategy and "about how to make the whole struggle into a long-term struggle."

(More Hong Kong stories.)

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