[UPDATE: 11am, May 20]
Five young activists, including Joshua Wong Chi-fung, were released on bail late Thursday night after getting arrested as they attempted to get close to state leader Zhang Dejiang’s motorcade on Thursday, the last day of the state leader’s visit to Hong Kong.
The five Demosistō members said the arrests were clearly politically motivated, criticising also that the force had raided their homes to collect evidence.
“We think the arrests are political arrests. The police have abused their power,” said Wong after his release outside Kwun Tong police station. “The [police] did that when Zhang Dejiang was in Hong Kong because the government is afraid of the people’s voices. Demosistō will not give up and will continue to fight together with everyone.”
They were released about 12 hours after the arrests.
Law said their actions were too minor to warrant being detained for so long. He said police had subdued the five in order to create an illusion to Zhang that the people of Hong Kong were satisfied with the performance of the city’s government.
“Our powers are small. But we have done our best to try to stand in front of Zhang Dejiang to tell him [about] Hong Kong people’s pursuit of democracy,” Law added.
Police said officers at the scene issued verbal warnings to the activists before arresting them. The force “strongly condemned” the five for their premeditated actions to breach the law, a spokesman said.
The spokesman also said police respected the public’s freedom of assembly and freedom to express their opinions, but the force was also responsible for maintaining public order.
Joshua Wong Chi-fung tweeted that he and other Demosistō activists were arrested for resisting/obstructing a public officer and disorderly conduct in a public place.
I am under police custody now with Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Oscar Lai Man-lok and protesters from Demosisto.— Joshua Wong Chi-fung (@joshuawongcf) May 19, 2016
According to the tweet, allegedly made while in police custody, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Oscar Lai Man-lok and other protesters from the newly established poltical party tried to protest in front of China's third in command on his official state visit to the city. As Zhang Dejiang's motorcade left the Eastern Harbour Crossing tunnel this morning, Wong, Law, Lai and other activists ran out on to the road as they attempted to protest a lack of democracy in Hong Kong, before being stopped by police.
Nathan Law claims on his Facebook that protesters were arrested at 11:12 am at the exit of the Eastern Harbour Crossing. They were subsequently taken to Kwun Tong police station.
At the time of writing, police have not confirmed the arrests.