Activists are calling for further demonstrations in Hong Kong’s Central area on Friday, October 4, to protest reported plans by the government to use emergency laws to ban face masks. Demonstrators are being asked to gather at lunch time to oppose the emergency measures. A mid-day rally on Thursday, October 3, in Central resulted in significant traffic disruptions and roads being blocked. As of 09:30 (local time) on Friday, the exact location of the rally has not been announced. Traffic disruptions and a heightened police presence are anticipated near the rally site.
Further demonstrations are expected to be held later in the day on Friday and on Saturday, October 5. Activists have not announced specific times or locations, but protests may occur throughout the downtown area and in other territories. A territory wide strike may also take place on Monday, October 7. On Thursday night, rallies were held in Tai Koo, Sha Tin, Tuen Mun, Sheung Shui, Tseung Kwan O, Prince Edward, Yuen Long, Tai Po, and Kwun Tong. Police officers fired tear gas in some areas to disperse crowds and MTR stations were closed. Clashes between protesters and security forces also broke out in some areas.
A heightened security presence is likely across Hong Kong until the situation fully stabilizes. Severe transportation and business disruptions are to be expected during all periods of protest activity.
On September 4, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, which would have allowed authorities in Hong Kong to extradite fugitives wanted in mainland China and other territories. The bill sparked mass protests up to 2 million people throughout Hong Kong since June 9. However, protest actions have continued since the government's announcement, as protesters' demands evolved into a wider pro-democracy movement, calling for government reforms and police accountability over violence.
Demonstrations have spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories in recent weeks and have also become increasingly violent. Activists have also accused the police of using unnecessary force in their attempts to disperse protesters.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations, prepare for associated disruptions to transportation and business, budget additional time to reach Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
Individuals are also advised to avoid wearing black and white colors around protest zones or rallies as they are associated with protesters.
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