Forty-three protesters were released on bail in Hong Kong on Wednesday after facing charges of rioting for their role in an anti-government protest at the weekend, local media reported.
The group were among 49 people detained on Sunday in the largest mass arrest since protests began on June 9 against proposed legislation that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to China.
Forty-four were charged on Tuesday with rioting, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, with one protester skipping court.
A warrant has been issued for his arrest, according to the South China Morning Post.
An additional protester was charged with possession of a deadly weapon, according to police.
The protesters were mostly in their early to mid-20s, with the eldest at age 41, reflecting the young age of many of Hong Kong’s more hard-line anti-government protesters, court documents revealed.
The South China Morning Post reported that many of the defendants were given a curfew of 12 am to 6 am.
Scores of supporters and protesters attended the hearing at Hong Kong’s Eastern Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday morning, despite gale-force winds and driving rain.
Several leaders of the democracy camp also attended to show their support, including legislator Kwok Ka-ki.
“The origin of the conflict is not the young people but [Chief Executive] Carrie Lam and her administration, and the Hong Kong police.
“Using these draconian rules will not help Hong Kong.
“These conditions will only escalate the violence.
“Young people will only become more united,” Kwok told reporters outside the court on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night, news of the charges drew hundreds of people to protest near the Kwai Chung and Tin Shui Wai police station, ultimately clashing with riot police in what has become a regular occurrence in Hong Kong.
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