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Two Pro-Democracy Leaders Who Were Arrested In Hong Kong Are Out On Bail

The arrests come as authorities are trying to thwart another large protest planned for Saturday.

Last updated on August 30, 2019, at 10:09 a.m. ET

Posted on August 29, 2019, at 10:56 p.m. ET

Paul Yeung / AP, Miguel Candela / Sipa USA via AP, Twitter: @chowtingagnes

Two prominent pro-Democracy leaders who were arrested in Hong Kong in an apparent escalation from authorities have been released on bail.

The arrests were made Friday morning as authorities moved to block another large-scale protest that has seen millions drawn to the streets in recent days.

Joshua Wong, a student who organized Hong Kong's 2014 protests, was walking to a subway station around 7:30 a.m. Friday morning when he was pushed into a minivan, according to activist group Demosistō. Wong serves as the group's secretary general, and its lawyers were working to learn more on Friday.

BREAKING: Our secretary-general @joshuawongcf was just arrested this morning at roughly 7:30, when he was walking to the South Horizons MTR station. He was forcefully pushed into a private minivan on the street in broad daylight. Our lawyers following the case now.

The group added he was taken to a police station in connection with three charges, but information wasn't immediately available on what they were.

About an hour and a half later, the group added that another member, Agnes Chow, was also arrested Friday morning and taken to a police station. She was also later granted bail.

Also on Thursday night, the leader of a banned separatist political party was also arrested while attempting to board a flight out of Hong Kong. Andy Chan wrote on Facebook that he was being detained for reasons unknown to him. Broadcaster RTHK reported that the 28-year-old leader of the Hong Kong National Party was suspected of taking part in a riot and assaulting police.

The arrests come after months of protests, which have drawn millions of Hong Kong residents to the streets to voice opposition to a proposed Chinese extradition law. The extradition bill was withdrawn, but protesters continue to rally against local leaders they've accused of ceding too much authority to mainland China. They've also protested police brutality and the government's characterization of them as rioters.

Earlier this month, protesters shut down Hong Kong's airport, prompting a shift in response from Chinese authorities, who described the behavior as close to terrorism. Thousands of Chinese troops were rotated into Hong Kong this week, a routine maneuver that has also sparked fears of a crackdown.

Kin Cheung / AP

A rally in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

Protests plan to once again take over streets on Saturday to mark the fifth anniversary of a decision that denied Hong Kong residents universal suffrage. But for the first time, police banned Civil Human Rights Front's rally and march, the Hong Kong Free Press reported, citing previous clashes between protesters and police. The group's leader, Jimmy Sham, said he and a friend were also attacked this week by men armed with a baseball bat.

Wong and Chan have previously been arrested. In 2014, Wong was accused of failing to leave a protest area after a court order, and he recently served several months in jail. Earlier this month, Chan was among 11 people arrested after police found gasoline bombs in a warehouse.

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