“The protests that have been going on for five months are yet to finish but the government is already launching massive arrests of pro-democracy legislators in collaboration with the police,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.
Hong Kong’s legislature is quasi-democratic, with half the seats popularly elected and the rest chosen by largely pro-Beijing committees, ensuring the chamber remains stacked with government loyalists.
Opposition to the government comes in the form of a small band of pro-democracy lawmakers who win their seats in local elections.
The lack of fully free elections — and especially the fact that the city’s leader is appointed by a pro-Beijing committee — has fuelled years of protests that have culminated in the latest unrest.
Chow’s death has only intensified the tinderbox atmosphere in what has become a deeply polarised city, with violence escalating on both sides of the ideological divide.
Although the precise chain of events leading to his fall is unclear and disputed, protesters have made alleged police brutality one of their movement’s rallying cries and have seized on the death.
Police have repeatedly denied any allegations of wrongdoing in relation to Chow’s death.
Vigils on Friday night saw large crowds and frequent clashes with police in multiple neighborhoods, including one officer firing a live warning shot.