Hong Kong opposition leaders detained in local election protest

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News Team

The Hong Kong Police made arrests today, detaining three leaders of a pro-democratic opposition party as they were on their way to protest the upcoming district councilor elections. The elections, scheduled for this Sunday, only allow “patriotic” candidates to participate. The president of the League of Social Democrats (LSD), Chan Po-ying, and her vice-presidents Dickson Chow and Yu Wai-pan were arrested in the main business district of Hong Kong Island. They are currently being held in police stations, although the reason for their arrest has not been officially revealed.

The LSD, one of the few pro-democratic groups still active in Hong Kong, had planned to organize a protest outside the polling station where the head of the local Executive, John Lee, was going to cast his vote. However, before they could approach the premises, they were intercepted by the police.

Raphael Wong, a member of the LSD, expressed that the arrests were “disproportionate” and highlighted that the arrests occurred on Human Rights Day. He criticized the lack of full rights for people to choose in the elections and questioned the government’s claims of improved, open, and transparent elections.

The electoral reform effectively blocked the participation of opposition figures and moderates in the electoral process by reducing the number of seats elected by citizens and establishing that all candidates must obtain their nominations through three committees made up of pro-government members.

Some commentators suggested that participation in the upcoming elections would significantly decrease compared to the November 2019 elections, which took place after months of anti-government protests and resulted in a victory for the pro-democratic opposition. On this occasion, no member of these parties was able to appear, and the turnout was only 13.51% at 1:30 p.m. local time, compared to 36.89% four years ago at the same time.

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