Large crowds are marching through downtown Hong Kong as of 16:20 (local time) on Sunday, July 28. Protesters are currently gathering in Central and walking towards Admiralty down Causeway Bay. Police officials had previously approved a rally in Chater Garden in Central but not a march. While the demonstration has remained peaceful so far, traffic is being disrupted in the area. A heightened police presence is expected in the area in the coming hours and police officers may use force to attempt to disperse the crowds. Clashes between protesters and police officers are possible in the coming hours if the situation escalates.
Additional protests are planned over the coming weeks. Demonstrations are expected to be held in western Hong Kong Island and Tseung Kwan O on August 4, Wong Tai Sin and Tai Po on August 10, Sham Shui Po and eastern Hong Kong Island on August 11, Hung Hom and To Kwa Wan on August 17, and Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing on August 18. A heightened security presence and transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
Police arrested 11 people following violent clashes with police during an unauthorized protest in Yuen Long (New Territories) on Saturday, July 27. Dozens of people were injured during the demonstrations after riot police used tear gas, pepper spray, and batons to disperse the crowds. Protests and mass demonstrations of up to 2 million people have been held since June 9 in opposition to a controversial bill that would allow Hong Kong to extradite fugitives wanted in mainland China and other territories. Opponents claim the law would erode freedoms and be used to silence dissent and criticism. The bill has been suspended, though not fully withdrawn.
Protests have spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories in recent weeks and have also become increasingly violent. On July 14, clashes between police and protesters in a Sha Tin shopping mall left 22 people hospitalized. On July 21, a group of pro-government men armed with bars and sticks attacked protesters and commuters in Yuen Long, leaving 45 people injured.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate a heightened security presence, avoid all public gatherings due to the risk of violence and arrest, refrain from discussing political subjects in public or on social media, remain vigilant for criminal and violent behavior, particularly during scheduled protest days and even in areas away from protest sites, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
Copyright and Disclaimer