HK braces for fresh anti-government protests

22-Oct-2019 Intellasia | TaiwanNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong tightened security as the city braced for an anti-government march on Sunday afternoon, stopping some metro services and closing public facilities, while pro-democracy leaders called on citizens to join the protest in spite of the risk of arrest.

Police prohibited the march in the city’s Kowloon district due to public safety concerns, and a court said the destination of the march the main rail interchange with mainland China was at risk of being attacked and vandalised.

Organisers have vowed to go through with the event even if it remained unsanctioned by police, because Hong Kong’s constitution guarantees the right to protest.



“We don’t think that because police haven’t given their approval we shouldn’t demonstrate,” Figo Chan, vice-convener of the Civil Human Rights Front, said. “Even though they have rejected our appeal, there will surely be many residents taking to the streets.”

At the city’s high-speed rail station in Kowloon, a number of areas were closed off and only passengers carrying tickets were allowed to enter. Food and beverage outlets were also closed.

On Saturday police arrested a 22-year-old man in connection with a knife attack on a teenager who was stabbed and wounded while he was handing out leaflets. A prominent human rights activist, Jimmy Sham, was attacked by men with knives this earlier this week, an attack pro-democracy lawmakers say was designed to intimidate protesters.

The protest is seen as a test for the movement’s strength following more than four months of unrest. Demonstrators are trying to maintain pressure on the government to respond to their demands, which include full democracy and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.

Hong Kong has seen relative calm over the past two weeks after violent protests sparked by the invocation of colonial-era emergency laws last used in the city more than 50 years ago, including a ban on face coverings, which protesters defied at recent rallies.

Ahead of Sunday’s protests, hundreds of people gathered for a prayer sit-in on Saturday night, and on Friday protesters formed a human chain along the metro network.

In the past, thousands of people have defied police to stage mass rallies. These rallies have often begun peacefully but then devolved into violence at night.



Category: Hong Kong

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