At least 3,000 police officers will be deployed across Hong Kong ahead of the Establishment Day public holiday on Wednesday, July 1, due to the potential for unrest. As of midnight (local time) on Sunday, June 28, a number of roads, including the exit of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass, were closed ahead of the planned flag-raising ceremony on July 1 at Bauhinia Square. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took part in demonstrations within Hong Kong during Establishment Day in 2019, and protesters later stormed the Legislative Council Complex.
On Saturday, June 27, Hong Kong police announced they had banned an annual pro-democracy march scheduled to take place on July 1. The police cited current regulations prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as violence witnessed at previous protests. Security concerns over the event have also been increased due to opposition against a proposed national security law. The organizer of the event, the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), have stated they will appeal against the decision to prohibit the gathering, and still urged people to attend the march. Participants have been urged to gather at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay at 14:00 (local time), before marching to the government's headquarters on Tim Mei Avenue in Admiralty, where they will congregate at 15:00.
On Sunday, June 28, China's National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee commenced a three-day meeting to discuss controversial proposed security legislation for Hong Kong, which could lead to the body voting to approve the legislation on Tuesday, June 30. The legislation is expected to come into effect by July 1, if the NPC approves it.
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 While the bill was withdrawn in September, mass protests continue to be organized to demand government reforms and police accountability over violence since the start of the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 the controversial new security law in May 2020. Although the full text of the law has not been released, among its proposals is the establishment of a new security agency in Hong Kong to enforce new security regulations and criminalizes the incitement of separatism and collusion with foreign powers. There has been speculation that the law could be retroactively applied and that sentences for violating the law could include life imprisonment despite statements suggesting that the maximum jail term would be ten years.
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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