Hong Kong police dispersed a demonstration in Yuen Long's Yoho Mall on Thursday, June 25, taking place to denounce the impending national security law. Tear gas was deployed to disperse crowds and 14 arrests were made. Cordons were in place outside the mall to prevent additional protesters and shoppers from entering. A heavy police presence at the adjacent Yuen Long MTR station was reported. No injuries were reported in the protests.
Protests across the territory are possible in the coming hours and days and may result in confrontations with security forces. 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 While the bill was withdrawn in September, mass protests continue to be organized to demand government reforms and police accountability over violence since the start of the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. Under the proposed law, criminal offenses will include secession - breaking away from the country; subversion - undermining the power or authority of the central government; terrorism - using violence or intimidation against people; and collusion with foreign or external forces.
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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