Thousands of people have gathered in the Wan Chi area of downtown Hong Kong as of 19:20 (local time) on Saturday, August 31, despite a police ban on protests in the area. Crowds have also gathered in other locations including outside the Wan Chi police headquarters, Tamar Park (Admiralty), and Sogo (Causeway Bay). Protesters have erected roadblocks in some areas, including on Hennessy Road where demonstrators are lighting bleach on fire to slow the advance of riot police. Security forces have been deployed throughout the area and have used tear gas and pepper spray in an attempt to disperse the crowds. Water cannons have also reportedly been used. Further clashes between police officers and protesters are likely in the coming hours as people continue to travel to the area.
On Friday, August 30, police officials banned another rally scheduled for Monday, September 2, in Tsim Sha Tsui. The demonstration was set to coincide with the launch of a two-day strike across the territory at 13:00. Workers from at least 20 different sectors are expected to participate. It is unclear if the police will also ban a rally set to take place at Tamar Park in Admiralty on Monday.
University and secondary students are also planning to strike on Monday and Tuesday, September 3. Secondary students in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon plan to gather at Edinburgh Place from 10:30 to 17:00 on September 2. University students are also calling for a rally at the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 15:00 until 17:00.
An August 5 general strike in Hong Kong resulted in severe transportation disruptions, including flight and public transportation cancelations, and violent clashes between protesters and police. Although the upcoming strikes and rallies are intended to pass off peacefully, violent clashes are possible. Severe transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence are to be expected throughout Hong Kong.
Protests and mass demonstrations of up to 2 million people have been held in Hong Kong since June 9, in opposition to a controversial bill that would allow authorities in 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 The bill has been suspended, though not fully withdrawn. Demonstrations have spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories in recent weeks and have also become increasingly violent. 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. Activists have also accused the police of using unnecessary force in their attempts to disperse protesters.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations, prepare for associated disruptions to transportation and business, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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