Dozens ar­rested at se­cu­rity-law protest

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

HONG KONG Hong Kong po­lice ar­rested at least 53 peo­ple on Sun­day after scuf­fles erupted dur­ing a rel­a­tively peace­ful protest against planned na­tional se­cu­rity leg­is­la­tion to be im­ple­mented by the main­land Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.

Armed riot po­lice were present as a crowd of sev­eral hun­dred moved from Jor­dan to Mong Kok in the Kowloon district, stag­ing what was in­tended as a “silent protest” against the planned law.

How­ever, chant­ing and slo­gans were shouted to­wards po­lice and later scuf­fles broke out in Mong Kok, prompt­ing po­lice to use pep­per spray to sub­due parts of the crowd. Hong Kong Po­lice said on Face­book that 53 peo­ple had been ar­rested and charged with un­law­ful assem­bly, adding that ear­lier some pro­test­ers tried to block­ade roads in the area.

The pro­posed na­tional se­cu­rity law has raised con­cerns among Hong Kong democ­racy ac­tivists and some for­eign gov­ern­ments that Bei­jing is fur­ther erod­ing the ex­ten­sive au­ton­omy promised when Bri­tain handed the ter­ri­tory back to China in 1997.

“The gov­ern­ment wants to shut us up and to kick us out,” one pro­tester, Roy Chan, 44, said. “We must stand up and strike down all those peo­ple who de­prive Hong Kong peo­ple’s free­dom.”

Sun­day’s event came a day after Hong Kong po­lice re­fused per­mis­sion for an an­nual march usu­ally held on July 1 to mark the 1997 han­dover, cit­ing a ban on large gath­er­ings amid the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

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