Hong Kong police arrested well-known activist Joshua Wong and another core member of a pro-democracy group Friday, and authorities denied permission for a major march in what appears to a harder line on this summer's protests. The organizers of Saturday's march, the fifth anniversary of a decision by China against allowing fully democratic elections for the leader of Hong Kong, said they were calling it off after an appeals board denied permission, the AP reports. It was unclear whether some protesters would still demonstrate on their own. Police have been rejecting more applications for rallies and marches, citing violence at or after earlier ones. They also are arresting people for protests earlier this summer. Andy Chan, the leader of a pro-independence movement, was arrested at the airport Thursday night. Three others were taken in earlier this week for the vandalizing of the legislature offices on July 1.
Police said that Wong and Agnes Chow are being investigated for their role in a June 21 unauthorized protest outside a police station. Wong is secretary-general of the Demosisto pro-democracy group and Chow is a prominent member. He was one of the student leaders of the Umbrella Movement, the major pro-democracy demonstrations in 2014. Isaac Cheng, the vice chair of the group, said the arrests are an attempt to spread fear and "white terror" among Hong Kong residents. He accused authorities of trying to identify leaders in a "leaderless" movement that has rocked Hong Kong for nearly three months. The Communist Party-ruled government in Beijing is pulling the strings and has misjudged the situation, he said, urging residents to continue protesting despite the risk of arrest. (Wong was released from prison in June after serving a two-month sentence related to the 2014 protests.)