Opposition leaders in Hong Kong have condemned the arrests of 53 pro-democracy activists on suspicion of violating the national security law for the territory.
The 53 were arrested on Wednesday on subversion charges linked to an unofficial vote organized by pro-democracy activists to choose candidates for a Legislative Council election that was to be held last September but was postponed.
Pro-democracy groups say the arrested include Wu Chi Wai, a former Legislative Council member and former head of the Democratic Party.
Beijing's office in Hong Kong disclosed the arrest of University of Hong Kong Associate Professor Benny Tai, one of the organizers of the unofficial primaries.
Democratic Party Chairman Lo Kin-hei told reporters on Tuesday that the government chose not to listen to citizens, but instead, opted to use "a draconian law to take revenge on political leaders being supported by the citizens." The arrested suspects include seven Democratic Party members.
Raphael Wong, who heads a pro-democracy group, told reporters that group members must raise voices of opposition at a time when many citizens are angry and hurt.