Violent protests continue in Hong Kong after anti-mask law comes into effect
October 07, 2019 @ 15:04 UTC
Hong Kong’s anti-mask law incited another weekend of mass protests. The city’s chief executive Carrie Lam invoked emergency powers on Friday that “aimed to deter people from joining these unlawful assembly and put an end to the violence,” a pro-establishment Hong Kong legislator, who approved of the new law, told CNBC on Monday. “Apart (from) the anti-mask law, we also urge … the public to cut ties with the violence and of course, we urge this time everyone to calm down and step back and say ‘no’ to the violence,” said Holden Chow, vice chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB).
Despite the face mask ban, which took effect on Saturday, anti-government protesters came out in force on the weekend, many donning masks. Protesters often wear gas masks and other face coverings to protect themselves from tear gas fired by police, as well as from being identified. Pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo took to social media on Sunday to rebut Lam’s decision to ban masks, saying that “the Chief Executive has no power to enact regulations in the manner she has.”
Mo said it is “in the immediate public interest for Legco to publicly scrutinize, vet and/or debate the matter.” The Legislative Council, or the local assembly, is informally referred to as Legco. The city has been roiled by increasingly violent protests for over four months. The turmoil was sparked by a now withdrawn bill that would have enabled suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China for trial. Hong Kong is not the first to introduce a ban on masks during mass protests. Earlier this year, France introduced a similar ban in response to the country’s “yellow vest” movement that swept the European country starting last November.