HONG KONG >> Supporters rallied outside a court in Hong Kong on Wednesday ahead of an appearance by more than 40 fellow protesters who have been charged with rioting.
Standing in a heavy rain, they chanted “Reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our times” in what has become a familiar refrain. They are protesting China’s influence in the city, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory with its own laws and legal system.
Police said late Tuesday that 44 people had been charged with rioting and one other with possessing offensive weapons. They were detained after clashes with police at an unauthorized protest in the western part of Hong Kong island on Sunday.
The riot charges are the most serious brought since protests began last month. News of the charges prompted quickly organized protests outside two police stations.
Several hundred people gathered in the streets outside the Kwai Chung police station in quickly organized protests that ran late into the night. Some threw eggs at the building. Police used pepper spray to try to disperse them.
Fireworks were set off just before 3 a.m. at another police station, injuring six men. Video footage on social media appeared to show a car driving by the Tin Shui Wai police station as fireworks flared where protesters were gathered.
Five people were taken to a hospital for their injuries and the sixth man declined medical treatment at the scene, police said. It wasn’t clear who was responsible.