Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Hong Kong arrested three pro-democracy lawmakers and sent notice to four others Saturday amid anti-government protests and plans for local elections later this month.
Police said they charged Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen and Au Nok-hin with breaching the Legislative Council Ordinance. Four others -- Leung Yiu-chung, Kwok Ka-ki, Gary Fan Kwok-wai and Lam Cheuk-ting -- were served notice about their impending arrests.
They each were accused of interfering in a Legislative Council meeting on May 11.
Officials said the seven lawmakers were involved in a scuffle in the legislature during a proposal to allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China.
The emotional outburst was one of the clearest signs of the lack of trust remaining between China and the semiautonomous island city of Hong Kong since it was handed over by Britain in 1997. The bill prompted months of protests in Hong Kong, which have continued even after lawmakers dropped the legislation.
Now, demonstrators hold general anti-government protests and decry police use of force.
Pro-democracy supporters said the arrests could further inflame the protests and influence elections scheduled for Nov. 24.
"The government wants to arrest lawmakers who pointed out the problems but it does not want to solve the ongoing social unrest," pro-democracy convenor Tanya Chan told the South China Morning Post. "That is putting the cart before the horse.
"They are pouring oil on the fire in the hope of creating conditions that will allow them to cancel the district council elections."