A senior judge at Hong Kong’s High Court on Sunday threw out an injunction by anti-China lawmakers challenging an emergency law criminalizing protesters wearing face masks.
As the ruling was being delivered, two protests were kicking off on both sides of Victoria Harbor, with thousands of masked protesters gathering in torrential downpours.
Unconfirmed accounts on social media later claimed that police had fired tear gas at protesters near Pacific Place, and at protesters near police headquarters in Wan Chai.
Thousands of protesters have staged routine flash mob rallies across the strife-torn city — often vandalizing subway stations, shops, and government buildings.
After four months of increasingly violent protests, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam invoked a law on Friday allowing her to make regulations during a time of public danger. Lam, who outlawed face coverings at protests, said she would use the new powers vested in her to manage the crisis as best as she could.
Hong Kong mulls emergency powers after violent nightHong Kong’s leader says “extreme violence” by rioters has justified her decision to invoke emergency powers for the first time in half a century.
Opposition forces said the government’s move was a step toward transforming the formal British colony — which gained independence two decades ago — into what they call an authoritarian system.
The current unrest in the former British colony started after the government proposed a plan to allow the extradition of Chinese suspects to mainland China for trial. The bill has since been withdrawn, but the protests have not only continued but also morphed into violent riots, receiving widespread coverage by both the mainstream media and governments in the West.
Since it was returned to China in 1997, Hong Kong has been governed under a “one-country, two-system” model.
Beijing has asked foreign countries, the United States and Britain in particular, to stop encouraging riots in Hong Kong through statements of ostensible support for protesters.