Nine more sit-in activists refuse to renew bail
Nine more protesters arrested in a sit-in at Chater Road were released unconditionally yesterday after they refused to renew their bail when reporting to police.
It came after 11 activists who took part in the Central sit-in were released on Thursday. Of the 511 activists arrested, 25 were required to report back to police.
Some of the protesters will join a rally this afternoon, organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, outside the Admiralty police headquarters to promote the concept of civil disobedience.
Yesterday, the activists - including lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung, Democratic Party district councillor Au Nok-hin and League of Social Democrats vice-chairman Wong Ho-ming - were released half an hour after they entered Central police station.
"This is a collective action," said Leung, as he left the station. He had earlier said he would not refuse to renew his bail. "As so many people are refusing bail, I did the same to keep it consistent."
Police said the cases were still under investigation and police retained the right to prosecute in the future. The activists took part in the overnight sit-in that followed the July 1 pro-democracy march. They were arrested for organising and taking part in an unlawful assembly. It was intended as a rehearsal for Occupy Central.
In refusing to renew bail, the protesters said police should either prosecute them if they had enough evidence or let them go. They said they were ready to plead guilty as what they did was an act of civil disobedience, calling for genuine democracy in the 2017 chief executive election.
And they said the requirement of reporting back to police at regular intervals would constrain further protest action.
The Federation of Students will organise a new round of protests if, as expected, the nation's top legislative body this month rules out allowing the public to nominate candidates in 2017.
Meanwhile, the five organisers of the July 1 march who were arrested for leading it too slowly did renew their bail yesterday. They are due to report back to police on September 26.