Hong Kong police arrested 53 individuals during commemorative events marking one year of pro-democracy protests on Tuesday, June 9. Police deployed tear gas to disperse crowds that gathered across Hong Kong, including: Charter Garden (Central district), Queen's Road Central, Des Voeux Road, Jubilee Street, Ice House Street, Queen's Road Central. A heavy police presence was reported in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, and Hennessy Road. Disruptions to transportation were also reported across Hong Kong.
Reports indicate that further gatherings are set to take place on Friday, June 12, across 12 districts in Hong Kong. Participants will reportedly gather in street booths to mark the anniversary of clashes between protesters and security forces outside the government headquarters in Admiralty (Hong Kong Island) one year ago. A larger booth in Edinburgh Place (Central district) will be attended by a pastor who will lead a hymn session from 20:00 (local time); large crowds are expected. Further rallies have also been scheduled for Monday, June 15, and June 19, the first day following the lifting of a ban on public gatherings of more than eight people and continued protest against the recent passing of the National Anthem Bill at the Legislative Council (LegCo).
Further protests are expected in Hong Kong over the near term. Clashes between rival protesters and police cannot be ruled out.
Demonstrations have been held throughout Hong Kong since June 2019 to protest a controversial extradition bill, which would have allowed authorities in Hong Kong to extradite fugitives wanted in mainland China and other territories. While the bill was withdrawn in September, mass protests continue to be organized to demand government reforms and police accountability over violence since the start of the demonstrations.
After a break in protests due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, demonstrations have increased in frequency since the relaxation of COVID-19 measures in late April. There has also been an uptick in protest activity since Beijing proposed introducing a controversial new security law in May 2020. However, as of May 28, public gatherings of more than eight people remain forbidden due to the virus.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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