More than 60 people have been arrested in Hong Kong for taking part in pro-democracy protests on China’s national day.
At least 60 people were detained in the area of Causeway Bay as thousands of police swarmed the streets to face small groups of protesters accused of taking part in unauthorized assemblies. Streets were cordoned off by the police force in the shopping and central business districts in an attempt to combat the protests.
It is believed a 23-year-old man was arrested for possessing a dangerous weapon, while a 35-year-old was also arrested for driving offences and the possession of pro-independence masks and stickers.
Protests are a familiar sight in Hong Kong, with widescale demonstrations taking part throughout 2019 disrupted by the outbreak of Covid-19. Such rallies were also disturbed by the imposition of Beijing’s new security law on the region three months ago.
Despite widespread condemnation of China’s security bill by the international community, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, was defiant in claiming such a reaction and subsequent sanctions would not deter her government. She said: “Over the past three months, the plain truth is – and it is obvious to see – that stability has been restored to society while national security has been safeguarded, and our people can continue to enjoy their basic rights and freedoms in accordance with the law”.
She added: “So, no matter how severe some foreign governments, holding double-standards, are going to level unjustified accusations against the authorities in charge of implementing the national security law…. I and my relevant colleagues will continue to discharge our duty to safeguard national security in accordance with the law without fear or anxiety”.
It is thought the latest protests breached the new security law, with a number of demonstrators chanting “five demands, not one less” alongside various other pro-independence slogans. Despite regular and often violent crackdowns on protesters, the pro-independence movement remains determined and focussed.