Hundreds of protesters gathered outside a Hong Kong court on Monday (March 1) for the hearing of 47 democracy activists charged with conspiracy to commit subversion.
Security was tight, with more than 100 police officers deployed.
Protesters chanted slogans. Many wore black, the color associated with the 2019 anti-government protests.
And some raised the three-finger salute that has become the symbol of protest against authoritarian rule in Myanmar.
The activists inside are accused of organizing and participating in an unofficial "primary election" last July aimed at selecting the strongest candidates for a legislative council election.
Authorities said the informal poll was part of a plan to "overthrow" the government.
Critics say that’s a clear sign that Hong Kong has taken a swift authoritarian turn since Beijing imposed a national security law last June.
Since the legislation was imposed, some elected legislators have been disqualified, scores of activists arrested and others have fled overseas.
Ivy Chan supports the pro-democracy movement:
"This group of people are our allies who fight for democracy and freedom. There is nothing else we can do so we queue here to let everyone know that we are still here. Hongkongers cannot be defeated, we will continue to fight on."
The activists were charged on Sunday (February 28) under the law which punishes what China broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the 47 to be released immediately. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described the charges as "deeply disturbing."