On Saturday, June 27, Hong Kong police announced they had banned an annual pro-democracy march scheduled to take place on Wednesday, July 1. The police cited current regulations prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as violence witnessed at previous protests. Security concerns over the event have been increased due to opposition against a proposed national security law. The organizer of the event, the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), have stated they will appeal against the decision to prohibit the gathering, and still urged people to attend the march. Participants have been urged to gather at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay at 14:00 (local time), before marching to the government's headquarters on Tim Mei Avenue in Admiralty, where they will congregate at 15:00.
A heightened security presence is expected across Hong Kong on Wednesday, and clashes between protesters and police forces cannot be ruled out due to the demonstration not having been approved by the police.
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 While the bill was withdrawn in September, mass protests continue to be organized to demand government reforms and police accountability over violence since the start of the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.
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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