The Hong Kong Police Force announced on Monday, June 1, that an upcoming vigil marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen protests on Thursday, June 4, will be prohibited, citing a ban on gatherings of more eight people in place due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Organizers of the vigil have called for people to light candles individually on Thursday at 20:00 (local time) and observe a minute of silence. Smaller rallies may be held despite the police ban.
Further protests across the territory are possible in the coming days and associated clashes with security forces are expected over the near term. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of all 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 While the bill was withdrawn on September 4, mass protests continue to be organized to demand government reforms and police accountability over violence since the start of the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) of the vote suggest that the public continues to support protests.
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 security law in May 2020 that would ban treason, secession, sedition, and subversion. However, as of May 28, public gatherings of more than eight people remain forbidden 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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