Police in Hong Kong said Saturday they arrested and charged six pro-democracy lawmakers, a move that could escalate public fury a day after the death of a university student linked to months of anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. Protesters vented their anger over Chow Tsz-Lok's death and vowed not to give up their resistance at a police-approved prayer rally Saturday night, with frequent chants of "Hong Kong people, revenge" and "Free Hong Kong," the AP reports. The 22-year-old died Friday, succumbing to injuries four days after falling from a parking garage when police fired tear gas during clashes with protesters. Although the circumstances of his death are unclear, many blame police, who've been accused of heavy-handed tactics since the unrest began in June, including widespread use of tear gas and pepper spray.
Police said they arrested six lawmakers and charged them Saturday with obstructing the local assembly during a raucous May 11 meeting over a now-shelved China extradition bill that sparked the five months of protests calling for democratic reforms. All were freed on bail. A seventh lawmaker received a summons but failed to turn up at a police station to face arrest, a police spokesman said. Pro-democracy lawmakers slammed the government clampdown as a calculated move after Chow's death to provoke more violence as an excuse to postpone or cancel Nov. 24 district elections—polls viewed as a barometer of public sentiment amid the unrest. Patrick Nip, Hong Kong's constitutional and mainland affairs secretary, said police made the arrests based on their investigation and that they had nothing to do with the upcoming elections.
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