Civil Human Rights Front, the group behind Hong Kong's democracy rallies, disbands

HONG KONG (AFP) – A Hong Kong protest coalition that organised record-breaking democracy rallies two years ago said on Sunday (Aug 15) it is disbanding in the face of China’s sweeping clampdown on dissent in the city.

“Civil society is facing an unprecedented severe challenge,” the Civil Human Rights Front wrote in a statement announcing the group’s dissolution.

“For the past year or so, the government repeatedly used the pandemic as a pretext to reject the front and other organisations’ applications to hold rallies,” public broadcaster RTHK reported, citing the statement,

“The front had wanted to maintain its original operations and brace the difficulties with everyone else. But our convenor Figo Chan is already incarcerated over numerous cases,” the statement said.

“The Secretariat can no longer operate, and since no one had indicated they will take over, has no choice but to disband.”

Chan was jailed in May for 18 months over an unauthorised protest in 2019.

The Civil Human Rights Front’s decision comes just days after the pro-democracy Professional Teachers’ Union announced last Tuesday that it is disbanding, citing immense pressure amid radical social and political changes.

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