05/25/2020, 09.20
HONG KONG - CHINA
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At least 180 arrested and injured among thousands of anti-security law demonstrators

by Paul Wang

Most of those arrested are accused of illegal gathering. Yesterday was the first mass demonstration during the lockdown, which bans rallies with more than eight people. Wang Yi tries to calm public opinion. But the democratic movement is planning another demonstration in two days.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Hong Kong police said they made at least 180 arrests after yesterday's demonstrations in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai, which was attended by several thousand people. Police also confirmed that those arrested are accused of unauthorized and illegal assembly. At least 10 people were injured and taken to hospital.

Yesterday was the first compact demonstration after months of lockdown in which the government prohibited gatherings of more than 8 people. The protesters' decision to go against the government ordinance was dictated by China's announcement that it intended to prepare and impose a security law for Hong Kong, which would fight secession, subversive activities, foreign interference, terrorism, offenses. against the motherland.

According to many local and international personalities, the law will mark "the end of Hong Kong" as a place of freedom, subjecting it to the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party.

China’s announcement came on the eve of the National People's Congress (NPC), which is taking place in Beijing. During a session yesterday, Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, tried to cool concerns related to the law, saying that it will not harm the freedom and autonomy of the territory. Yesterday there were acts of vandalism by some demonstrators. Beijing state media brand these acts as "terrorism".

But the groups linked to the democratic movement are of the opposite opinion. Yesterday the demonstrators continued to ask for an answer to the "five demands", which had become the slogan of the demonstrations that began almost a year ago against the extradition law.

The "five demands" include a request for an independent investigation into the excessive use of force by the police and universal suffrage in the election of the Hong Kong parliament (Legco) and the chief executive, which Beijing has excluded for some time.

The movement plans another mass protest on May 27, when a law on the national (Chinese) anthem prohibiting insults will be discussed at the Legco. Vague "offensive" chants are punished with three years in prison and a fine of up to 50,000 Hong Kong dollars. In preparation for possible demonstrations, the area around the Legco today was completely secured with barricades.

 

Photo: HKFP

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