Hong Kong police arrested two prominent activists Friday ahead of a major protest march Saturday banned by authorities, according to the activist movement Demosisto.
Joshua Wong, 22, head of Demosisto, the activist movement advocating self-determination for Hong Kong, was arrested about 7.30 a.m. on his way to the South Horizons subway station and pushed into an unmarked car before being taken to police headquarters, according to Demosisto.
Another Demosisto activist, Agnes Chow, a student, was arrested at her home, according to the organization.
Those arrests followed Thursday night’s detention of pro-independence campaigner Andy Chan at Hong Kong International Airport, where he was prevented from boarding a plane. Police said he was arrested for rioting and assaulting a police officer. Chan founded the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, which was banned by authorities last September.
The arrests are likely to inflame tensions ahead of the banned march and could trigger further confrontations between police and protesters.
Early Thursday, China rotated new troops into Hong Kong and vowed to take steps to defend Hong Kong’s stability and democracy. Chinese officials said it was a routine troop rotation.
An editorial in the state-owned China Daily said Chinese soldiers based in Hong Kong would have “no reason to sit on their hands,” should the situation deteriorate.
Saturday’s march, organized by the Civil Human Rights Front, was calling for universal suffrage — one of the five demands of the protest movement — five years after the 2014 Umbrella Movement, which failed to win democratic change.