Hong Kong sees first protest in three years — below strict controls Lalrp



HONG KONG — Hong Kong has held its first approved protest in three years — an indication towards a land reclamation plan — however imposed strict guidelines on the members, together with requiring them to put on numbered tags and stroll alongside a route cordoned off with police tape.

It was an indication of the management that Hong Kong’s authorities, which has grow to be more and more beholden to Beijing, is searching for to exert over a metropolis that’s purported to take pleasure in a level of autonomy from China.

At Sunday’s rally, native environmentalists and residents within the Tseung Kwan O neighborhood within the New Territories demonstrated towards the development of six amenities that they are saying might be intrusive and convey nuisance to the group. They held indicators that learn, “No to establishing a cement manufacturing facility and refuse assortment level!”

Organizers estimated a turnout of 80 individuals; police stated 65. Police had put a 100-person restrict on the rally.

The strictly managed march was the primary because the Hong Kong authorities imposed strict limits on crowds and required masks to be worn below pandemic controls.

The organizer of Sunday’s march had to make sure that members abided by the nationwide safety regulation, which outlaws dissent and comes with the specter of heavy penalties.

In addition they needed to be sure that the members didn’t make political statements with their apparel — corresponding to carrying yellow umbrellas, the image of the pro-democracy demonstrations that introduced town to a standstill in 2019.

In an unprecedented transfer, members needed to put on lanyards with badges, every printed with a singular quantity.

Protesters have been additionally banned from sporting face masks to make sure they might be identifiable — and due to this fact be extra prudent of their actions. Journalists have been requested to remain past the cordon.

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James Ockenden, a 49-year-old British journalist who has lived within the metropolis for 20 years, joined the protest together with his youngsters. He stated the principles, just like the cordon tape, have been absurd.

“As quickly as we got here to a nook, the cordon obtained twisted up. … It was humiliating,” Ockenden stated. “It felt like being herded like sheep.”

Earlier than the march, all placards and leaflets have been scrutinized by police, stated Cyrus Chan, one of many organizers and a member of the Concern Group for Tseung Kwan O Folks’s Livelihood.

“That is our first pilot check to indicate the police that Hong Kong individuals are able to finishing up a peaceable protest, and that’s why we hope measures applied in in the present day’s protest is not going to be a brand new regular,” Chan stated.

In response to the considerations of the protesters, Hong Kong’s Improvement Bureau said that it’s going to examine the opportunity of limiting the size of the land reclamation and relocating some amenities elsewhere.

“We respect the proper to freedom of expression. We now have reached out to native residents to hearken to their views by varied channels,” a spokesperson stated.