Activists are planning to hold an unofficial general strike ballot across Hong Kong on Saturday, June 20, in protest against the proposed national security law. The group of more than 30 unions organizing the referendum, including civil service and student organizations, plan to open 36 polling stations across Hong Kong on Saturday between 10:00 and 20:00 (local time), with 13 in district councilor offices. Although the unions only have a combined membership of around 14,000, organizers have stated that they are hoping up to 60,000 may vote in the public ballot in order to reach the threshold for strike action.
Authorities are yet to announce any action against the ballot. However, given the political tensions in the territory, police may seek to disrupt the poll on Saturday by blocking access to polling stations. Such intervention would be likely to increase the risk of unrest around these sites and other symbolic locations in the city.
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 While the bill was withdrawn in September, mass protests continue to be organized to demand government reforms and police accountability over violence since the start of the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 19, public gatherings of more than 50 people remain prohibited 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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