Nine Hong Kong activists sentenced to prison for unauthorised Tiananmen vigil Photograph:( Reuters )
Several activists saw the ban as an attempt to shut down any display of defiance to Beijing. The authorities in Hong Kong denied that it was the reason.
On Wednesday, nine Hong Kong pro-democracy activists were sentenced to between six and 10 months in prison for their role in an unauthorised assembly at last year's vigil for the victims of China's 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on protesters.
Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, holds the largest June 4 vigil in the world every year. However, the police banned the last two vigils due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several activists saw the ban as an attempt to shut down any display of defiance to Beijing. The authorities in Hong Kong denied that it was the reason.
"The defendants ignored and belittled a genuine public health crisis," District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock said.
"They wrongly and arrogantly believed their common purpose was more important than protecting the community or the public’s right to protection from a serious health risk."
Three other activists received suspended sentences.
Alliance leader and veteran vigil organiser Albert Ho, along with 11 others, had pleaded guilty.
Alliance leaders Albert Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan and Chow Hang Tung were charged last week with inciting subversion. Ho and Lee are already in jail for their role in the protests in 2019. Chow was denied bail.
Last week, police raided the premises of the closed June 4th museum dedicated to the Tiananmen victims.
(With inputs from Agencies)