News ID: 266902
Published: 0300 GMT March 14, 2020

Hong Kong 'Umbrella' movement leader freed from prison

Hong Kong 'Umbrella' movement leader freed from prison
Chan Kin-man walks to a prison van as he is transferred to prison from Lai Chi Kok Reception Center, after being jailed for the 2014 protests Occupy Central, also known as the "Umbrella Movement," in Hong Kong, China, on April 27, 2019.

A Hong Kong protest leader Chan Kin-man walked free from prison on Saturday saying he had no regrets for his leading role in the 2014 “Umbrella Movement”.

A retired sociologist and one of the three leaders of the demonstrations, Chan was found guilty last year of conspiracy to commit public nuisance for his role in planning and mobilizing supporters during the 79-day protest that brought parts of the Chinese-ruled city to a standstill, Reuters reported.

A relentless series of protests against the government began in June, when Hong Kongers took to the streets to voice their anger over a now-withdrawn extradition bill.

The protests broadened to include demands for universal suffrage and an independent investigation into police handling of the demonstrations.

The Umbrella protests staged sit-ins, blocking major roads in the Asian financial hub, in a push for full democracy, although they failed to wrest concessions from Beijing.

The Umbrella Movement got its name because protesters used umbrellas to shield themselves from tear gas and pepper spray.

The symbolic umbrella tactic reemerged in 2019 during the sometimes violent anti-government protests triggered by the now withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to the mainland for trial in Communist Party controlled courts.

Chan said he understood why the young protesters resorted to “intense actions” in the last few months because they felt the government was no long fair and just.

Chan, 61, said he plans to visit the young protesters arrested during the recent unrest and share with them his experience in how to mentally deal with the charges they face.

Hong Kong returned to China from British rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula that guarantees freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland but many protesters accuse Beijing of tightening its grip on the city and eroding those freedoms.

Beijing denies meddling and blames the West for fomenting unrest.


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