By Shirley Lau
Hong Kong, Jul 1 (efe-epa).- Hong Kong police on Wednesday arrested hundreds of people amid fresh unrest a day after a controversial national security law was implemented on the special-status Chinese territory by Beijing.
A number of the detainees were the first to be suspected by police of having breached the new law. They had allegedly been taking part in an annual march marking the 23rd anniversary of the ex-British colony’s return to China, which this year was banned for the first time since it was first held in 1997.
Thousands of protesters defied the ban to take to the streets for the annual protest rally.
The turn-out was significantly lower compared to last year, but this time the demonstration doubled up as a show of defiance against the new law.
“This law is scary, but I have to come out. I want democracy and freedom,” a 61-year-old wheelchair-bound retiree who identified himself as Mr Wong, told Efe.
There were clashes between protesters and police. Teargas, water canons and pepper spray were occasionally fired at protesters and some journalists.
A police officer required treatment after allegedly being stabbed in the arm by an unidentified protester.
Some 4,000 police officers were deployed to control the crowds and police vehicles had an almost ubiquitous presence in and around the protest site of Causeway Bay, a popular shopping area on Hong Kong Island.
Many main roads and streets were cordoned off by police from the beginning, making it impossible for protesters through Central, Hong Kong’s business district.