Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam invoked the use of emergency powers on Friday, permitting the government to ban face masks at protests, in an try to additional clamp down on pro-democracy rallies that have rocked the city due to the fact June.
Lam stated that the ban would take impact on Saturday, October five. Reports stated that the ban would take impact as early as midnight.
“Violence is destroying Hong Kong,” Lam stated, adding that the ban of face masks would be an “powerful deterrent”, as it would stop protesters from “hiding their identity”.
When she clarified that the city is “not in a state of emergency”, the city’s chief executive also warned that “if the violence escalates, we will have to appear at items we require to do to counter” the protests.
As Lam spoke, thousands of masked protesters marched in the streets of the city to express their opposition to her selection.
The demonstrators raised their arms and shouted pro-democracy slogans.
Seething public anger against Chinese rule in the semi-autonomous city has underscored increasingly violent confrontations in between police officers and demonstrators.
Protesters have made use of face masks along with yellow helmets, goggles and respirators to shield themselves from tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and water cannon, and to keep away from identification.
Pro-Beijing legislators have been urging Lam to introduce the emergency ordinance due to the fact Tuesday, when violent protests in Hong Kong overshadowed the 70th-anniversary celebrations for the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Nicholas Chan Hiu Fung, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said the move would allow people to share views in “an organised, proper, legal manner”.
Joshua Wong, secretary general of pro-democracy Demosisto party, warned that the ban of the use of masks only “marks the beginning” of more government repression.
— Lok. (@sumlokkei) October 4, 2019
“A lot more arbitrary arrest and search, extending detention to 96 hours or a lot more, banning online access, de facto martial laws are hugely anticipated,” he wrote on social media.
On Friday afternoon, Hong Kong’s education bureau sent letters to schools warning students about applying masks.
Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, reporting from Hong Kong, stated that the most recent order could most likely backfire against the government.
He quoted protesters as saying that the ban would only harden their resolve to protest against the government.
It was not clear how the government would implement the mask ban in a city exactly where several of its 7.four million residents wore them every day to shield against infection following the outbreak of the deadly Serious Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003.
Injured protester charged
Police fired a record 1,400 rounds of tear gas and made use of water cannon to break up Tuesday’s protests, which flared up in diverse components of the city.
An 18-year-old protester was shot in the chest by a police officer right after his unit was involved in a skirmish with protesters armed with pipes.
The secondary college student remains in hospital in a steady situation and was on Thursday amongst a quantity of men and women charged with rioting.
A couple of hundred men and women rallied outdoors court to show their assistance for the protesters, Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke stated.
Hong Kong protester shot in the chest by police in the course of clashes
“Police are nonetheless beneath stress about why they made use of reside bullets, and why they targeted the protester’s chest,” she stated.
Pro-democracy legislator Dennis Kwok stated introducing an emergency law would signal “the starting of a slip towards an authoritarian state”.
“The authorities by now ought to have listened to the Hong Kong men and women. Their yearning for freedom, liberty and democracy is not going to go away,” he stated.
The protests had been ignited by a now-scrapped program to enable extraditions to the mainland.
But right after Beijing and regional leaders failed to respond to demonstrators’ demands the rallies snowballed into a wider movement calling for democratic freedom and police accountability.