Hong Kong's rail operator announced all MTR services, including the Airport Express, Light Rail and MTR bus, have been suspended as of the morning (local time) on Saturday, October 5, following violent protests and clashes between protesters and security forces on Friday, October 4. The decision was reportedly announced after protesters vandalized and set fire to multiple MTR stations, following the administration's use of emergency powers to pass a law banning the use of face masks in public. The operator said it would review the transport closures on Saturday afternoon. Bus services may also be diverted due to the damage sustained to more than 100 sets of traffic lights on Friday. Several businesses are closed as of 11:00 on Saturday, including shopping malls, supermarkets, and banks.
Additional demonstrations are planned on Saturday, October 5, and Monday, October 7. Activists did not immediately announce specific times or locations for Saturday's demonstrations, but protests may be held 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 of 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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