Hundreds of anti-government protesters gathered in Kowloon on Sunday, September 6, to denounce the new national security law and the postponement of the Legislative Council elections, amongst other issues. Approximately 2000 riot police officers were reportedly deployed to West Kowloon with water cannons ahead of the planned demonstration which had not been granted official approval. The Legislative Council elections had previously been scheduled to be held on September 6 but were postponed by the authorities, citing public health risks due to a resurgence in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Demonstrators planned to march from Nathan Road in Jordan to Mong Kok at 14:30 (local time). Unconfirmed media sources report that police had arrested several participants. Reports also indicate that police are conducting stop and search operations on vehicles and people in the area.
A heightened security presence has been reported in the area and should be anticipated throughout the day. Further associated demonstrations and clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
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 While the bill was withdrawn in September, mass protests continue to be organized to demand government reforms and police accountability over violence since the start of the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 introduced the controversial new security law in June 2020. Under the new legislation, individuals can be arrested for being directly or indirectly involved in secession, subversion, terrorist activities, or collusion with a foreign country or other external elements that could endanger national security. The maximum sentence for violating the law is life imprisonment. A new Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government will also be set up in Hong Kong to assist in dealing with national security issues. Under certain conditions, the new Office will be allowed to prosecute individuals under mainland Chinese law. The postponed September 6 legislative election would have been the first since the introduction of the security law.
Those 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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