The 24-year-old activist served nearly seven months for her role in an unauthorized rally during anti-government protests in the city in 2019.
Hong Kong democracy activist Agnes Chow was released from prison on Saturday second anniversary of major democratic gatherings in the city, with the police in force and demonstrations now almost banned.
Two thousand officers were put on hold after social media called on residents to commemorate the failed democracy protests.
Authorities have maintained a coronavirus ban on public gatherings despite the city having recorded just three local infections in the past month.
A Beijing-imposed national security law also criminalized many dissent, and most of the city’s democratic leaders have been arrested, jailed, or fled overseas.
On Saturday morning, one of these characters was released from prison.
Chow, 24, was assaulted by pending media but made no comment as she was chased away.
Fans shouted “Agnes Chow add oil”, a cheering expression in Cantonese that was widely used during the protests that rocked the city.
Some supporters wore black T-shirts and yellow masks and one was holding a yellow umbrella, one symbol of protests in the former British colony dating from 2014.
Chow comes from a generation of activists who cut their teeth in politics as a teenager and have become an inspiration to those resenting Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian rule.
She spent around seven months behind bars for her role in a 2019 protest outside the city’s police headquarters. The other young activists Joshua Wong and Ivan Lam were convicted in the same case.
Chow’s release comes at a sensitive time.
Two years ago, on June 12, thousands of protesters surrounded the city’s Legislative Assembly in an attempt to prevent the passage of a bill that could have allowed extraditions to China’s justice system. continental.
Riot police used tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to disperse the huge crowds.
Images of the clashes escalated public anger and fueled what has become an increasingly violent movement calling for full democracy that has raged for seven consecutive months.
Huge crowds have gathered week after week in the most serious challenge to Chinese rule since the handover of Hong Kong in 1997.
Beijing’s leaders rejected the call for democracy, describing those who demonstrated as lackeys of “foreign forces” trying to undermine China.
They have since overseen a sweeping crackdown that has succeeded in curbing dissent and radically transforming the once Frankish semi-autonomous city.
The spearhead of this crackdown has been the National Security Act.
More than 100 people have been arrested under the new law, including Chow, although she has yet to be charged.
Dozens more have been charged, including jailed pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai.
Most have been denied bail and face life in prison if found guilty.
Protests have been extremely limited over the past year in Hong Kong, but anniversary events have tended to attract attention.
On Friday, two activists from Student Politicism, a pro-democracy group, were arrested on suspicion of advertising an unauthorized rally.
Authorities last week banned an annual candlelight vigil to commemorate the victims of the deadly crackdown on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.