Hong Kong: Hundreds of protesters converged on Hong Kong’s Central business district, defying police warnings of unlawful assembly to mark the one-year anniversary of the first major march against since-scrapped legislation allowing extradition to China.
Crowds took to the streets Tuesday night and disrupted evening traffic as dozens of police in riot gear charged to try and disperse protesters. Police fired pepper spray, according to the South China Morning Post.
Protestors have already spilled over to carriageways, causing serious disruption to traffic and commuters. Queen’s Road Central is now gridlocked. Please exercise your #freedom peacefully! #HongKongProtest
— Hong Kong Police Force (@hkpoliceforce) June 9, 2020
Hong Kong’s government warned that protesters may be found guilty of “taking part in an unauthorised assembly” and breaching rules designed to prevent and control disease, according to a statement on its website. The city has social distancing restrictions in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in the day, hundreds converged in malls in the city at lunchtime, chanting anti-government slogans and waving banners, according to the paper.
The June 9, 2019 mass march against the extradition bill launched months of historic pro-democracy protests that rocked the former British colony. Though the measure has since been withdrawn, protests have reignited in recent weeks amid China’s effort to push through national security legislation that’s raised concerns about the financial hub’s future autonomy from the mainland.
The Civil Human Rights Front, the organizer of some of last year’s biggest protests, posted a call to the city’s residents to “remember June.”
“Remember June is to remember the history of Hong Kong’s protests, a history of blood and tears,” read the group’s Facebook post. “We call upon all Hongkongers to preserve our memory, to resist evil law, and to fight hard for Hong Kong and our future.”- Bloomberg