Hong Kong is celebrating its 23 years since British reign ended as a new “anti-protest” law, imposed by China, comes into practice.
Each year, a pro-democracy protest is held on the anniversary. Tens or hundreds of thousands of people attend it.
However, authorities have banned the march for the first time since the handover. The cited the ban on gatherings of more than 50 people due to coronavirus.
Some activists have decided to march later in the afternoon.
“We march every year… and we will keep on marching,” pro-democracy activist Leung Kwok-hung told Reuters.
On the other hand, one pro-democracy activist warned that there was a “large chance of our being arrested”.
“The charges will not be light, please judge for yourself,” said Tsang Kin-shing of the League of Social Democrats.
Hong Kong gained freedom from Britain in 1997. It was handed back to China. However, the act was performed under an agreement that is supposed to grant certain freedoms for at least 50 years.
However, critics say that the new anti-protest law passed by China halts those freedoms, as the law is the “end of Hong Kong”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “[China] promised 50 years of freedom to the Hong Kong people, and gave them only 23.”
The city’s leader said that the law “restore stability” after protests that took place in 2019.
“The legislation of the national security law is considered the most important development in relations between the central government and Hong Kong since the handover,” said Chief Executive Carrie Lam.