Lunar New Year fireworks show in HK cancelled over anti-government protests

16-Jan-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The signature fireworks show for Lunar New Year has been cancelled, the latest major event in Hong Kong to fall by the wayside over the city’s anti-government protests.

Tourism lawmaker Yiu Si-wing revealed on Wednesday the display at Victoria Harbour scheduled for the second day of the celebrations on January 26 would not go ahead.

He said the government, which organises the event, had safety concerns, with the seven months of protests engulfing the city showing little sign of abating.

Referring to the widespread cancellations of flagship events in the city, he said: “It is not good for Hong Kong’s reputation.

“When it comes to safety issues, the decisions are understandable.”

The fireworks, which at about 20 minutes long are the largest scale in the city in terms of duration, have been at the heart of the Lunar New Year festival for years.

The last time they were cancelled was in 2018 in the wake of a bus accident in Tai Po that claimed 19 lives and injured at least 60.

Yiu said it was disappointing the fireworks had joined a growing list of axed events since the protests broke out in June last year, triggered by vehement opposition to the now-withdrawn extradition bill.

The demonstrations have morphed into a wider anti-government movement, with mobs hurling petrol bombs and bricks at police, who have responded with tear gas, pepper spray and even live rounds.

Aside from the fireworks blow, it was previously announced the Lunar New Year celebration would be watered down, with a three-day carnival replacing the parade through southern Kowloon.

The traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks, organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, was also cancelled due to safety concerns.

The Post has contacted the Leisure and Cultural Services Department for comment.


Category: Hong Kong

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