District council elections will be held in Hong Kong on Sunday, November 24. Over 4 million people are expected to head to the polls to select members of the lower level of government. According to senior police officials, armed riot police officers will be deployed to provide security at polling stations on Sunday. Almost all officers are expected to be on duty and will be patrolling through each district. Other heightened security measure may also be implemented around polling station during the vote.
An increase in political rallies may also occur over the coming days. On Thursday, November 21, candidates held campaign rallies in multiple areas. However, according to local media reports, events have been scaled back compared to previous elections to avoid attention from anti-government protesters. Associated demonstrations are possible after the results of the vote are announced.
The November 24 vote will be the first election since the start of the social unrest in Hong Kong in June. Mass protests to demand the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill have resulted in significant violence between demonstrators and security forces in recent months. While the government withdrew the bill on September 4, the protesters’ demands evolved into a wider pro-democracy movement, calling for government reforms and police accountability over the violence.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments, avoid polling stations and all protests, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business around protest sites, and anticipate a heightened security presence.
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