HONG KONG (AP) — Three leaders of Hong Kong's 2014 pro-democracy protests and six others are being tried for their involvement in the "Occupy Central" movement that paralyzed the city's financial district for more than two months.

The trial for the nine defendants opened Monday. They include two professors and a pastor who spearheaded the campaign to press for free elections of Hong Kong's top leader.

Protesters laid siege to government headquarters for 79 days but failed to win any concessions.

Three university students prosecuted in 2016 for their leadership role in the protests received community service.

Judges are under pressure from Beijing to hand down harsher sentences to deter future protests. Some fear that central government meddling will erode judiciary independence and the city’s standing as a business capital.