Thousands of people are gathering in downtown Hong Kong on Friday, October 4, to protest reported plans by the government to use emergency laws to ban face masks. Crowds are blocking major intersections in Central as of 14:00 (local time) along Queen’s Road. Pedder Street and Des Voeux Road are also completely blocked by demonstrators. In Tai Koo, protesters are also marching down one side of King’s Road. According to social media posts, crowds also gathered in the APM Mall in Kwun Tong. Further demonstrations are possible in the coming hours and crowds may grow at current sites. Significant traffic disruptions and a heightened police presence are anticipated in the area.
Further demonstrations are planned on Saturday, October 5, and Monday, October 7. Activists have not announced specific times or locations for Saturday, but protests may occur throughout the downtown area and in other territories.
A heightened security presence is likely across Hong Kong until the situation fully stabilizes. Severe transportation and business disruptions are to be expected during all periods of protest activity.
On September 4, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, which would have allowed authorities in Hong Kong to extradite fugitives wanted in mainland China and other territories. The bill sparked mass protests up to 2 million people throughout Hong Kong since June 9. However, protest actions have continued since the government's announcement, as protesters' demands evolved into a wider pro-democracy movement, calling for government reforms and police accountability over violence.
Demonstrations have spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories in recent weeks and have also become increasingly violent. 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, budget additional time to reach Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
Individuals are also advised to avoid wearing black and white colors around protest zones or rallies as they are associated with protesters.
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