On Sunday, May 24, Hong Kong authorities deployed riot police, armored vehicles, water cannons, and tear gas in an attempt to disperse protests in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai. Police arrested at least 180 individuals as thousands gathered for a march between the SOGO department store in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai's Southorn Playground, demonstrating against Beijing's controversial attempts to impose new national security laws on the territory. Social media sources showed some protesters throwing plastic bottles, umbrellas, and branches at police forces, prompting the closure of shops and nearby buildings.
Further protests are likely in the medium term. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of all protests in the territory.
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 While the bill was withdrawn on September 4, mass protests continue to be organized to demand government reforms and police accountability over violence since the start of the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) of the vote suggest that the public continues to support protests. Over 8000 people have been arrested since the protests began.
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. However, as of May 11, public gatherings of more than eight people remain forbidden due to the virus, which may inhibit protest activity.
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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