News Alerts

20 Nov 2019 | 07:02 AM UTC

Hong Kong: Protesters block roads in three districts November 20 /update 164

Hong Kong, SAR China News Alert

Hundreds of protesters rally in Central, Kwun Tong, and Tai Koo Shing on November 20 as the standoff at the Polytechnical University continues; transportation disruptions ongoing

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/20/2019, 12:00 AM until 11/23/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Hong_Kong). COUNTRY/REGION Hong Kong, Polytechnic University, Kwun Tong, Central, Taikoo Shing

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Event

Demonstrators blocked roads in three districts during spontaneous lunchtime protests on Wednesday, November 20. In Kwun Tong, traffic cones, rubbish bins, and other debris were used to block Tsun Yip Street, Wai Yip Street, and Kwun Tong Road. Police officers were deployed into Central to prevent protesters from marching up Pedder Street and Des Voeux Road Central. Around 200 people also protested outside the One Island East office building in Tai Koo Shing. Traffic disruptions were reported around the protest sites and further demonstrations may occur later in the day. MTR service also remains disrupted on Wednesday, with some stations being closed on the East and West rail lines due to damaged facilities. Up-to-date information on train service and station closures can be found on the MTR website.

The standoff between riot police and protesters at the Polytechnic University (PolyU) is ongoing for the fourth consecutive day as of 14:45 (local time) on Wednesday. According to media sources, around 100 people remain barricaded in the university. Hong Kong officials are calling for the remaining demonstrators to surrender peacefully to the police. According to the Hong Kong Security Secretary, John Lee, close to 900 people from the site have surrendered. Lee also said that 730 people were arrested for various crimes on Tuesday, November 19, but he did not specify if the number included demonstrators from PolyU. Security forces and public works personnel are reportedly attempting to clear debris-blocked roads near PolyU and at the Cross-Harbour Tunnel. A heightened security presence and traffic disruptions are expected to continue around the university until the situation is resolved. Clashes between protesters and riot police are possible over the coming hours and days.

Further protests may be organized with little warning and a heightened security presence is likely across Hong Kong until the political situation in the city fully stabilizes. Severe transportation and business disruptions are to be expected during all periods of protest activity.

Context

Tensions significantly escalated across the territory on November 11, after a police officer shot a protester in Sai Wan Ho. Later in the day, a man confronting protesters was reportedly set on fire.

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.

Advice

Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business around protest sites, to confirm the status of their flights prior to departure for the airport 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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