Three leaders of Hong Kong’s 2014 civil disobedience “Occupy” movement, pleaded not guilty to public nuisance charges at a packed court in the Chinese-ruled city on Monday, where more than 100 protesters rallied in support of the activists.
The nine leaders on trial include law professor Benny Tai, 54, sociologist Chan Kin-man, 59, and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, 74, who face three charges of conspiracy to commit public nuisance, incitement to commit public nuisance, and incitement to incite public nuisance.
Each charge carries a maximum jail term of seven years. Six others are also charged in a case that comes as the financial hub’s civil liberties are coming under increasing strain.
Before walking into the court session, the nine defendants chanted “fearless” and “civil disobedience”.
Supporters cheered and clapped as the democracy activists entered the packed court room, with Tai, Chan and Chu all wearing black jackets.