10/02/2020, 09.24
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Police patrol Hong Kong and arrest 86 on national holiday

by Paul Wang

The Civil Front for Human Rights was denied permission to march for "health and safety" reasons. Gatherings of more than four people are prohibited. But several groups managed to manifest their dissent and support for those arrested. “Glory to Hong Kong” on flute only.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - China's national holiday, the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, was a day under police control for the city of Hong Kong. Since early morning, at least 6 thousand policemen have been deployed in various hot spots of the territory, checking documents, searching bags and briefcases, blocking gatherings.

The Civil Front for Human Rights - sponsor of the most numerous demonstrations in the territory, capable of gathering up to 2 million people - has not received permission for any gathering. The Front wanted to organize a march to support the 12 Hong Kongers who fled to Taiwan and who were arrested at sea by the Chinese police. The reason for the ban was "health and safety": due to the Covid-19 epidemic, all gatherings of more than four people are prohibited.

Last year, in full fight for democracy and against the extradition law, there were huge demonstrations, clashes with the police, barricades, Molotov cocktails. A policeman even shot a young man. This year the security law and anti-Covid measures have almost eliminated the protests.

Despite this, small groups of people - mostly young people - dressed in black [the "uniform" of democracy protesters] gathered in Causeway Bay, the starting point of the demonstrations. In other streets in the center, groups shouted the slogan "Free Hong Kong, revolution of our time", considered a cry for independence and prohibited by the new security law. The police even blocked groups of people from climbing Lion Rock, a hill overlooking Kowloon, where in the past protesters have displayed giant pro-democracy banners.

By the end of the day, around 10 pm, the police had made at least 86 arrests. The charges: participation in unauthorized gatherings; violation of social distancing; lack of documents; possession of "weapons".

The most poetic protest was that of an 18-year-old, Max Jin, who on a street in Causeway Bay played the music of "Glory to Hong Kong" on his flute, which has become the anthem of the democratic movement and which as of this year is forbidden to sing in schools in the name of the security law.

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