On Sunday, June 28, at least 53 people were arrested after clashes broke out during an initially peaceful protest in Kowloon against the proposed national security legislation. Participants gathered at Jordan MTR station in Jordan district, before marching along Nathan Road towards Mong Kok district in a silent protest. A heavy police presence was reported in Jordan and along Nathan Road. Amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, there still remains a ban on public gatherings of more than 50 people. Security forces reportedly warned demonstrators that they were taking part in an unauthorised assembly and raised blue flags at the activists warning them to disperse. Several attempts were made by the police to stop the small groups of protesters marching and those who were stopped had their IDs checked and belongings searched. The protesters began chanting slogans and a confrontation with police ensued. Riot police deployed pepper spray after scuffles broke out at the corner of Dundas Street and Nathan Road in Mong Kok and police sources reported that 53 people had been arrested and charged with unlawful assembly. The protests reportedly died down from 19:00 (local time) and police departed the scene.
A planned protest at Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island is reported to have failed to properly materialise. Participants were expected to congregate at the park at 15:00, however, media sources suggest that by 15:20 there were no demonstrators present. Riot police had been deployed ahead of the planned protest and were seen patrolling the area.
Reports indicate that activists continue to urge supporters to congregate on July 1 to mark the anniversary of the handover of the city from British to Chinese rule, despite Hong Kong police announcing on Saturday, June 27, that the annual march was banned, citing public health concerns and violence in previous protests. Participants have been urged to gather at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay at 14:00, before marching to the government's headquarters on Tim Mei Avenue in Admiralty district, where they will congregate at 15:00.
A heightened security presence is expected across Hong Kong on Wednesday, and clashes between protesters and police forces cannot be ruled out due to the demonstration not having been approved by the police.
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.
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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