Hong Kong police have banned a major march on Sunday against the government’s anti-mask law, citing public security concerns.

The Civil Human Rights Front intended to hold a march at 1:30pm from Salisbury Garden in Tsim Sha Tsui to the West Kowloon high-speed rail terminus: “The anti-mask law deprives freedom of expression among Hong Kong citizens, and threatens everyone’s personal safety while exercising their rights to freedom of assembly,” it said.

October 1 national day march Cuaseway Bay Wan Chai Admiralty protest
Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

A judicial review against the anti-mask law will be heard by the High Court by the end of the month.

The Front said the march was also sought to urge the government to set up an independent commission of inquiry to investigate alleged police brutality and abuse of power, as well as propose resolutions to rebuild the police force.

Mass protests, now in their 19th week, have evolved from the movement’s original aim of opposing a proposed extradition agreement with China into a wider movement seeking democracy, among other demands.

【廢除惡法、獨立調查、重組警隊】——民陣宣布 10 月 20 日舉辦大遊行Abolish anti-mask law, setup independent commission of inquiry, and rebuild Hong…

Posted by 民間人權陣線 Civil Human Rights Front on Monday, 14 October 2019

The police have banned numerous protests since July, but crowds have gathered as planned nonetheless.

Under the anti-mask law, enacted earlier this month by the government using powers under the 1922 Emergency Regulations Ordinance, protesters wearing masks face up to a year in jail if convicted.

The police cited injuries and violent incidents arising from large-scale roadblocks, arson, and weapons such as home-made explosive devices, at previous Front marches as a reason.

Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link West Kowloon terminus
West Kowloon terminus of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. File Photo: GovHK.

A suspected improvised explosive device was found in Mong Kok near police vans during a protest last Sunday.

The police also said the route of the march passes high-risk buildings which protesters may storm, and thus it had to be banned.

Meanwhile, the Front – which says up to milion people have attended its previous protests – has said it will likely appeal the decision.

Jimmy Sham, the convener of the pro-democracy coalition, was attacked by men with hammers on Wednesday night in a Tai Kok Tsui street. He was hospitalised after suffering wounds to his head, which required stitches, and injuries to his knees and elbows.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

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.