Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday angered by the introduction of the law that bans wearing face masks during protests and other public gatherings, media reported.
The ban was introduced on Friday, triggering a new wave of protests in Hong Kong. Persons who violate the ban may get up to a year in prison or be fined 25,000 Hong Kong dollars ($3,200).
According to South China Morning Post, the largest concentration of protesters can be seen on Sunday in the areas of Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui, with many of them covering faces with masks. Major interchanges of the city remain shut and the work of public transport is significantly disrupted.
Hong Kong police have reportedly used tear gas for several times throughout the day to disperse the protesters.
On Friday, the severity of the opposition’s backlash was such that the Hong Kong authorities had to shut down all subway stations to prevent the situation from further escalation and to repair damage suffered by the stations.
The mass protests started in China’s special administrative region in early June as a reaction to a highly unpopular bill that would have allowed people to be extradited to the mainland. The protests eventually escalated into violent confrontations between demonstrators and the police.
In early September, Lam agreed to formally withdraw the controversial initiative, but protesters have remained in the streets to demand her resignation, retraction of the government’s classification of the violent clashes as riots, an independent inquiry into alleged police violence and release of everyone arrested in the clashes.
Hong Kong law enforcement officers maintain that they use force proportionately and only in response to violent acts or unlawful behavior by the protesters. Beijing views the situation in Hong Kong as a result of foreign interference in China’s domestic affairs and expresses full support for the actions of the local authorities. (UNI)