Riot police dispersed approximately 300 pro-democracy protesters who were gathered at Cityplaza mall in Taikoo Shing (Quarry Bay) on Sunday, April 26, despite the current ban in place on public gatherings of more than four people implemented amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
Police forces cordoned off areas of the mall and dispersed the "singing" protest as well as shoppers in the area; the activists were reportedly chanting popular protest slogans and calling for the release of pro-democracy activists. Shops in the vicinity of the protest reportedly closed.
Public gatherings of more than people are still prohibited; Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam extended the social-distancing measures in place across the territory until Thursday, May 7.
Additional demonstrations and public gatherings should be expected in Hong Kong over the near term. A heightened security presence and disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected near related protests.
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 While the bill was withdrawn on September 4, mass protests continue to be organized to demand government reforms and police accountability over violence since the start of the demonstrations. Pro-democracy candidates won 389 of the 452 seats in the territory's district council elections on November 24. The pro-democracy movement victory and the high turnout (71 percent) for the vote suggest that the public continues to support protests. Over 7000 people have been arrested since the protests began.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments, report suspicious objects and behavior to police, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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