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HONG KONG – Hong Kong teenage student leader Joshua Wong is set to face trial on charges relating to his role in storming government headquarters nearly a year ago in a protest that sparked monthslong pro-democracy street occupations.
Wong pleaded not guilty to charges of inciting and participating in an illegal assembly at a magistrates court on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old leader of the Scholarism high school group helped spearhead last year's protest movement against Beijing's plan to restrict elections for top leader of the semiautonomous Chinese city.
Students and other activists occupied streets in busy neighborhoods across the Asian financial hub for 79 days but the protest movement, which captured world headlines, fizzled out as authorities refused to budge.
Two other student leaders, Alex Chow and Nathan Law, also pleaded not guilty at the same hearing to similar charges.
Chow, former secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, which also played a main role organizing the protests, is charged with participating in an illegal assembly. Law, the group's current leader, is charged with inciting an illegal assembly.
Wong was among dozens of student activists who stormed a fenced-off courtyard outside government headquarters during an evening rally on Sept. 26. Huge crowds jammed the streets outside the building after police arrested the popular Wong and other key leaders, holding them for nearly two days. Police attempts to scatter the crowds by using tear gas backfired, enraging the protesters and kick-starting the protests, which some called the Umbrella Movement and others dubbed Occupy Central.
The case was adjourned until Oct. 30.
This version corrects that another hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30, instead of the trial.