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Hong Kong: Mass demonstration over ban on masks

Hong Kong

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Reuters

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Mask has become a new symbol of protest in Hong Kong.

Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered for the march despite torrential rains in Hong Kong against the action of banning masks.

Many people covered their faces as a mixed response to answer the ban. The High Court on Sunday upheld the ban on masks.

Metro service has started in some parts of the Chinese city, which was attacked by rioters on Friday.

Masks have become a major issue for pro-democracy protesters in recent months.

The police opened fire on the protesters this week in which two people were injured. This incident also provoked the people to hold mass demonstrations.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has banned the days of Britain's right to hand over colonial rule.

The protesters fear that democratic rights are being abolished in the semi-autonomous region under Chinese rule.

How big is the new display?

After Friday's riots, when a small march was taken out on Saturday, a lot of people attended it.

The South China Morning Post reported that two groups started demonstrating at the same time from the Causeway Bay and Taseem Sha Tsui districts.

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EPA

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Many protesters were wearing masks.

Shops were closed early while luxury and chain stores in Causeway Bay were closed.

On Friday, rioters attacked both commercial and railway stations.

In an interaction with the BBC near a closed road on the city's Rodney Street, 18-year-old Hazel Chan said, "I am not sure how many more chances we will get for freedom."

Hazel was wearing a surgical face mask.

He told, "I do not think that this will have a big impact on the government's stance, rather I hope that we will get the attention of the international world and tell the world that this bad law has been imposed on us."

Rill Fung, a 19-year-old performing with Hazel, said, "I don't have much faith in the protests because we ignored our demands even after millions of people came in front."

However, she continued her protest.

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EPA

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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam

How are officers responding?

Lam promised to stop further violence on Saturday, saying "we cannot allow the rioters to do further damage to our treasured Hong Kong."

He upheld the ban against masks due to excessive violence by protesters. He said that Hong Kong's public safety is threatened by excessive violence.

The High Court rejected the second petition challenging the ban on masks by the opposition public representatives.

The public representatives argued that prohibition is illegal because it prohibits freedom of expression and freedom to assemble.

How serious is the situation?

For several months, violence has been increasing in the conflict between police and activists.

On Tuesday, the police shot a protestor for the first time in which an 18-year-old man was injured. He allegedly attacked a police officer.

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Getty Images

On Friday, a 14-year-old boy was shot in the leg at UN Long, a town in the west of the city.

The South China Morning Post reported that a police car, including a police officer in plain clothes, was set on fire in the same area later. The car belonged to the police, there was no trace of it.

However, officials did not reveal any connection between the two incidents.

What is the situation in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong was a British colony that was handed over to China in 1997.

There is a compromise of "one country, two systems" and people here have some freedom including freedom of assembly and speech.

However, those freedoms, the Basic Law, are ending in 2047 and it is unclear what the situation in Hong Kong will be again.

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