Hong Kong protesters call for activist's release

 Hong Kong protesters call for activist's release
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Protesters in Hong Kong reportedly demonstrated Wednesday in front of the city’s High Court to call for the release of activist Edward Leung, who was appealing a six-year prison sentence relating to clashes with police.

Supporters briefly stopped traffic as they pressed up against a prison bus transporting Leung from the hearing, holding up five fingers to represent their five demands, which include Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation, direct elections and amnesty for arrested protesters, according to The Associated Press.

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Leung “has inspired a lot of Hong Kong people, especially our young people,” Kenny Lee, 23, one of the supporters assembled outside the hearing, told the AP.

“He started spreading his idea a few years ago but at that time, not many people really understood him and some even criticized him,” protester J. Sze said of Leung, who also participated in Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy protests.

Leung was sentenced last June in connection with February 2016 unrest in the working-class Mong Kok district. It was unclear whether his appeal was successful, according to the AP.

Leung’s attorneys told the court that his sentence was disproportionate to his role and that more violent protesters received lighter sentences, according to Reuters. Supporters wore black masks, defying a ban Lam has instituted as the protests show no signs of flagging.

Protesters originally took to the streets four months ago after Lam introduced a bill that would allow certain criminal suspects to be extradited to China, but have continued since she withdrew the legislation.