Mass arrests in Hong Kong as police crack down on protests against Beijing’s legalisation

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Hundreds were arrested during the anti-government protests on Wednesday as LegCo continued the debate on the controversial National Anthem Bill.

Photo: Trams for miles in Admiralty as traffic is blocked in Wanchai, Central during protests. Photo courtesy of Harbour Times.

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Day-long protests over the controversial National Anthem Bill which was on its second reading debate in the legislature Wednesday, as well as the national security legislation, flared up across Hong Kong. As of 9:30PM, police had arrested over 360 people for offences related to unauthorised assembly and possession of offensive weapons. 

Previous online calls for city-wide strikes and demonstrations had caught police attention as officers patrolled various MTR stations and stopped and searched around Admiralty during rush hour in the morning. A heavy armed police presence was observed around the city. 

During lunch hour, riot police shot pepper ball bullets near D’Aguilar Street to a mass assembling and shouting slogans in Central. 

In Causeway Bay, police detained at least 50 young people, making them sit outside Hysan Place mall for more than an hour before being taken on coaches. At least 180 were arrested in Mong Kok, among them were children in school uniform. 

Videos also show riot police chased off three students on Changsha St and then made arrests. 

In Wanchai, roads are blocked by protesters with umbrellas. Photo courtesy of Harbour Times.

Crowds gathered in various central districts, chanting pro-democracy slogans including “Hong Kong Independence, the only way out” and “One nation, one Hong Kong” and singing “Glory to Hong Kong.” 

Protesters in Mong Kok and Wan Chai marched on roads in the afternoon, forming umbrella barricades before the police arrived to disperse and charge at them. 

Unrest persisted in Mong Kok as the night fell; demonstrators were copped as they gathered on streets and set up barricades. 

The national anthem law that criminalises disrespectful acts to March of the Volunteers and the national security legislation sparked waves of opposition as citizens see it as Beijing trampling over the city’s promised autonomy and civil liberties. 

US Secretary Mike Pompeo said the same day on Twitter that the US decided Hong Kong “is no longer autonomous from China.”

Mass arrests in Hong Kong by police to crackdown protest against Beijing’s legalisationPrinter: R&R Publishing Limited, Suite 705, 7F, Cheong K. Building, 84-86 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong