By Lily Kuo and Erin Hale, The Guardian, August 2019

Hong Kong police have launched a wave of arrests against prominent democracy activists and protesters, marking a new phase in government efforts to stop mass protests that have plunged the city into months of political crisis.

On Friday, police detained pro-democracy lawmakers and activists, including Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, student leaders of pro-democracy protests in 2014. The pair were charged with unlawful assembly and released on bail. Police said 28 people were arrested.

Critics say the mass arrests on the eve of a big rally planned for Saturday are aimed at dissuading protesters who have come out on to the streets for the last 12 weekends, demanding the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill among other demands.

“This is part and parcel of a new round of oppression against the movement,” said Kenneth Chan, a professor in the department of government at Hong Kong Baptist University. “The arrest of other known leaders is meant to intimidate others,” he said.

After almost three months of protests the Hong Kong government, backed by Beijing, appears to be escalating its tactics against the protesters, who have shown few signs of backing down. Beijing has reportedly ordered Hong Kong’s leader, chief executive Carrie Lam, not to concede to any of the protesters’ demands.

Read the full story via The Guardian