Riot police have arrested at least 35 protesters amid demonstrations taking place across Hong Kong on Friday, June 12. Media sources state that these were the police's figures as of 22:00 (local time). Demonstrations marking the year's anniversary of the first major clashes between security forces and protesters on June 12 2019, occurred in several locations including in Causeway Bay, Sha Tin, Mong Kok, Tai Po, Yuen Long, and Kwun Tong. Outside Mong Kok train station, dozens of protesters were reportedly detained as security services closed off one of the stations' exits in attempts to control the unrest. The anti-government protesters were arrested for breaching public order ordinance as well as disobeying current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) social distancing measures. Media sources and social media video imagery indicate clashes occurred in various locations with riot police firing pepper-spray and using other crowd control measures in attempts to disperse demonstrators. There were no immediate reports of casualties, though an assailant was also arrested for attacking and stabbing a protester with a knife in Kwun Tong amid the demonstrations.
A heightened security presence and further demonstrations are possible in the coming days across Hong Kong.
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 While the bill was withdrawn in September, mass protests continue to be organized to demand government reforms and police accountability over violence since the start of the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 June 12, 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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