Nine jailed in Hong Kong for 'Fishball Revolution' riots

Nine jailed in Hong Kong for 'Fishball Revolution' riots

Nine protesters were jailed in Hong Kong Thursday after being found guilty of rioting during the "Fishball Revolution" clashes with police two years ago, the latest in a series of legal actions against demonstrators.

At least seven people have already previously been jailed over the 2016 clashes, which reflected
At least seven people have already previously been jailed over the 2016 clashes, which reflected underlying tensions over the erosion of the city's traditions AFP/DALE de la REY

HONG KONG: Nine protesters were jailed in Hong Kong Thursday (May 31) after being found guilty of rioting during the "Fishball Revolution" clashes with police two years ago, the latest in a series of legal actions against demonstrators.

Aged from their late teens to over 70 years old, they were handed sentences ranging from 28 months to over four years for their involvement in the city's worst violence for decades.

The 2016 demonstrations were triggered by official attempts to remove illegal hawkers from the bustling Mong Kok commercial district during Lunar New Year celebrations. The "Fishball Revolution" moniker refers to a favourite Hong Kong street snack sold by the hawkers.

At least seven people have already been jailed over the clashes, which reflected underlying tensions over the erosion of the city's traditions.

They were led by activists seeking more autonomy from Beijing, as fears grow that Hong Kong's freedoms and identity are under threat from Chinese authorities and the city's pro-China local government.

As the unrest escalated, police fired warning shots in the air as protesters hurled bricks torn up from pavements and set rubbish alight.

Eight of the defendants jailed Thursday had pleaded not guilty to rioting charges, while one had pleaded guilty. Another young defendant, who also pleaded not guilty, was sent to a training centre and an 11th had absconded.

None were known activists.

When handing down his verdict earlier this month, the judge said the defence used by some that they had participated in the protests out of fun could not be justified, according to local media.

Hong Kong's most prominent localist activist and pro-independence campaigner Edward Leung, who is accused of being one of the ringleaders of the Mong Kok protests, will be sentenced next month after being found guilty of rioting at the city's High Court.

Leung could face up to 10 years in prison.

The violent protests contrasted with the largely peaceful pro-democracy Umbrella Movement rallies of late 2014, which brought some busy streets to a standstill for more than two months.

Three Umbrella Movement leaders were jailed for up to eight months for their role in the rallies, although those sentences were later quashed.

The failure of the 2014 rallies to win reform triggered new calls from some young campaigners for complete independence for Hong Kong, infuriating Beijing.

Source: AFP

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