Students and uniformed groups will not take part in the flag raising ceremony during Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day next Monday. The government cancelled their appearance at the event marking the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s Handover citing safety concerns.

An Auxiliary Medical Service notice seen by HKFP stated that the uniform group was informed by organisers that they did not need to attend the ceremony as originally planned. Several other groups, such as the Hong Kong Red Cross, also issued similar notices.

After weeks of organised and wildcat protests against the city’s extradition law plans, the Home Affairs Department told HKFP that student and uniformed groups will not participate, “in view of the recent situation in society and safety concerns.”

flag raising ceremony
A flag raising ceremony. File Photo: GovHK.

The Department’s decision came after plans to protest at Golden Bauhinia Square on July 1 gained traction online. Demonstrators are seeking to block the flag-raising ceremony by singing in different languages.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who has not appeared in public since June 18, is set to take part.

protest Department of Justice office Central
Protesters sitting in outside the Department of Justice office in Central on June 27. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Back-to-back demonstrations have rocked the city in recent days.

On Wednesday, anti-extradition law demonstrators visited 19 foreign consulates to submit petition letters ahead of the G20 meeting on Friday in Osaka, Japan. That evening, thousands attended a pro-democracy rally in Central organised by the Civil Human Rights Front.

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Towards the end of the night, thousands of activists surrounded police headquarters. Then, on Thursday morning, protesters gathered outside Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng’s office demanding a dialogue.

The government’s now-postponed legal amendments would enable the chief executive and local courts to handle case-by-case fugitive transfer requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements. But critics have raised concerns over the risk of residents being extradited to mainland China, which lacks human rights protections.

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.