Hong Kong: Pro-democracy leaders arrested in protest during Chinese official’s visit
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Hong Kong: Pro-democracy leaders arrested in protest during Chinese official’s visit

THE leaders of pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong have been arrested for trying to protest during Chinese official Zhang Dejiang’s visit, as security tightens around the city.

Preparation for Zhang’s visit has seen authorities increase security to new levels, possibly in anticipation that there may be protests reaching same scale as the “Umbrella Revolution” in 2014, where thousands of people occupied the streets for 75 days.

Thousands of policemen were deployed across the city as Zhang began his three-day trip. Zhang, who is the chairman of the National People’s Congress, is the highest-level Communist Party official to visit Hong Kong since 2012.

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Nathan Law, leader of the Demosistō Movement in Hong Kong, was photographed being pinned down by authorities in the Wan Chai metropolitan area.

The chairman of another pro-democracy movement, League of Social Democrats, Avery Ng, was arrested earlier for violating traffic laws after he unfurled a banner that read “An end to Chinese Communist one-party rule”, reports the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP).

Prior to being arrested, Ng live-streamed his arrest on Facebook, saying “Zhang Dejiang should stop being a coward and should go back to Beijing” while being escorted into the police car.

成功!警察遲到󾌳有人在北大嶼山公路掛上了「結束中共專政」banner

Posted by 吳文遠 Avery Ng on Monday, May 16, 2016

Another member of LSD, Raphael Wong, has also been barred from protesting and was arrested today. A post on his Facebook page states he does not know how long he will be detained, and calls for others to join the protest in the same area.

According to Tony Sabine, anchor and producer at Hong Kong’s TVB Pearl News, Law said the massive security roll-out for Zhang implies how “terrified” the Hong Kong government is of causing upset and of “its own people”.

During his address after stepping off the plane, Zhang sent “warm regards” and “best wishes” from Chinese president Xi Jinping and the Central Government.

According to HKFP, he said his visit could be summed up in three characters: “look”, “listen” and “speak”.

Most notably, Zhang said he would be “listening” to the Chief Executive and the Hong Kong government’s work, as well as the public’s “requests” for the implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems” policy.

Additional reporting by Associated Press