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Court prepares to sentence Hong Kong protest organizers

A court in Hong Kong is preparing to sentence nine leaders of massive 2014 pro-democracy protests convicted last month of public nuisance offenses.

The sentences to be handed down Wednesday are seen as an effort by the government of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory to draw a line under the protests.

The nine were leaders of the "Occupy Central" campaign, which was organized as a nonviolent sit-in that became known as the "Umbrella Movement" after a symbol of defiance against police adopted by the street protests.

Occupy Central leaders, from left, Tanya Chan, Chan Kin-man and Lee Wing-tat chant before entering a court in Hong Kong, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The court is preparing to sentence nine leaders of massive 2014 pro-democracy protests convicted last month of public nuisance offenses. The sentences to be handed down Wednesday are seen as an effort by the government of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory to draw a line under the protests. (AP PhotoKin Cheung)

They could face up to seven years in prison.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997 under an agreement in which China promised the city could retain its own laws, economic system and civil rights for 50 years.