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40 Hong Kong protesters charged with rioting to appear in court

HONG KONG: More than 40 Hong Kong protesters who have been charged with rioting stemming from demonstrations over the weekend, are set to appear in the court.

Hundreds of supporters of those charged gathered outside the court and chanted “Reclaim Hong Kong”. They are protesting China’s influence in the city’s affairs.

Police announced late on Tuesday that 44 people had been charged with rioting and one other with possessing offensive weapons.

The announcement sparked new protests that went on until the early morning hours of Wednesday. The defendants were arrested after clashes with police at an unauthorised protest on Sunday.

A total of 49 people, including 32 men and 17 women between the ages of 16 and 41, had initially been arrested from the scene.

Hong Kong police indicated further arrests as it investigating the four others released temporarily or out on bail.

One of the accused is a 33-year-old man who was also charged with assaulting a police officer, police said. Another 24-year-old man was charged with weapons possession.

The riot charges are the most serious brought since protests began last month. News of the charges prompted more protests outside two police stations on Tuesday night.

Video livestreamed by Hong Kong media on Tuesday night showed protesters chanting slogans and throwing eggs at the Kwai Chung police station. Police used pepper spray to try to disperse them.