Hong Kong police patrol against protests on China holiday

Hong Kong police patrol against protests on China holiday”

The Civil Human Rights Front, a pro-democracy group which organized million-person marches previous year, had asked Hong Kong police for authorization to hold a rally on National Day, which is typically marked by large pro-democracy marches.

The national security law was China's response to a powerful pro-democracy movement launched in Hong Kong last June, which protested Beijing's increasing infringement on the city's limited rights.

The People's Republic of China celebrates its founding on October 1 with a holiday and carefully choreographed festivities.

Calls continued online, however, appealing for Hong Kong people to come out and push back against the Chinese Communist Party's tightening rule and the swift erosion of the city's once famous freedoms.

Beijing in late June made the stunning move of passing a national security law by fiat in the hopes of suffocating the street protests that had rocked Hong Kong for eight months until the pandemic hit.

"Over the past three months, the plain truth is, and it is obvious to see, that stability has been restored to society while national security has been safeguarded, and our people can continue to enjoy their basic rights and freedoms", Lam said.

The Chinese embassy in Britain has strongly condemned the acts of Hong Kong protesters who burnt the national flag and assaulted the embassy building.

A police source told AFP that 6,000 police officers had been drafted in to stop any protests - double the contingency usually placed on reserve for days when the force expects demonstrations to occur.

Residents stopped by police officers frequently shouted at them and questioned their authority.

And while police refused a permit for a proposed march, riot police were on Thursday conducting stop-and-search operations along what was expected to be the route.

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The rejected rally application was made by the Civil Human Rights Front, a coalition that organised record-breaking marches a year ago.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government honoured many of police officers in its Honours List including awards for bravery in their handling of the protests.

Ip draws out that "about 28 people have been arrested under the law", noting the case of a "23-year-old man accused of driving a motorbike into police officers and displaying a banner that read 'Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times.' His case is being dealt with in accordance with due process and our criminal laws".

On the rare occasions when demonstrations do bubble up, riot police and plain-clothes officers move quickly - on one day last month almost 300 people were arrested.

Over the last 16 months, more than 10,000 have been detained during protests with courts facing a backlog of trials, including of many prominent protest leaders.

"Even if they try to arrest us, prosecute us and lock us up in prison there is no reason for us to surrender", activist Joshua Wong told reporters on Wednesday. The "national security" law makes the extradition unnecessary, imposing communist rule within Hong Kong's borders.

"Hong Kong has been rocked by a series of crises after the eruption of protests a year ago over a proposed bill (long since withdrawn) that would have allowed the extradition of some suspects in criminal cases to mainland China", Ip writes.

Among the mainland officials taking the stage at Thursday's ceremony was Zheng Yanxiong, the head of a newly created national security office in the city.

The security law has led to sanctions by the United States and condemnation by many other Western nations.

The New York Times on Thursday published an opinion column authored by Regina Ip, a Hong Kong official the paper once described as "Beijing's enforcer" in the city, calling for Hong Kong to accept its relationship with China as "destiny".

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