Conflicts & War

Hong Kong sees first authorized protest in 3 years, but with restrictions

Beijing, Mar 26 (EFE).- Dozens of people participated in the first authorized protest in Hong Kong in three years on Sunday to rally against a land reclamation plan.

In 2019 hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets during a wave of anti-government protests before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

On Sunday, around 80 people, watched by at least 50 police officers, protested a government plan to reclaim land in Tseung Kwan O and build public facilities including a refuse treatment plant and a cement plant in the neighborhood, according to local media outlets.

The demonstration took place under restrictions from the authorities, including participants having to wear numbered tags around their necks with the date and name of the march, and making sure their faces were not covered, public broadcaster RTHK reported.

The ban on wearing masks or other clothing that conceals the face is based on legislation passed during the 2019 protests that is punishable by up to a year in jail and fines of HK$25,000 ($3,200).

The protest was limited to 100 participants despite the fact that some 300 people had signed up to attend.

According to data from the police, between January and March this year the authorities issued authorizations for the holding of 41 public demonstrations and marches.

The anti-government protests in 2019, which led to the arrests and jailing of numerous activists as well as the exile of others, led to Beijing enacting a hardline National Security Law in the former colony.

Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have warned of the rapid deterioration of freedoms in Hong Kong, the persecution of journalists and the forced dismantling of civil society organizations under this law. EFE


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