86 people were arrested by the Hong Kong cops on suspicion of unauthorized assembly on China’s National Day holiday. The people gathered on the streets of a popular shopping district and other areas chanting pro-democracy slogans.
People were called online to join the protest. And the crowd met at Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay shopping district. Some people were chanting “Disband The Police” and “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution Of Our Time”. These are popular but banned pro-democracy slogans by the Hong Kong government. The slogans are allegedly secessionist sentiments.
Reason Behind The Arrest Of 86 People By Hong Kong Cops
In a statement posted online, police declare that four district councilors were among the people in custody. They said the people faced arrest after they ignored repeated warnings given to them to disperse on Thursday, 1st October 2020. Police presence outnumbered the protesters at the scene.
20 people were also given penalties separately for breaching social-distancing regulations. The regulation currently prohibits public gatherings of more than four people. In the afternoon on 1st October, police cordoned off some areas in the district and searched people on the streets. On several occasions, they even unfurled warning banners that urged protesters to disperse, saying they were participating in an illegal assembly.
National Day in China celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China. This day has become a day of protest in Hong Kong. This is by those who oppose Beijing’s increasing control over the semi-autonomous city. There is a ban on large-scale protests as of now because of social distancing restrictions due to coronavirus.
Hong Kong’s National Security Law
Protests against Hong Kong and mainland Chinese governments started increasing in 2019. Beijing then clamped down on expressions of anti-government sentiment in the city with a new national security law that took effect on 30th June 2020.
The US and Britain are accusing China of infringing on the city’s freedoms. The US has even imposed sanctions on government officials in Hong Kong and China over the law.
At a National Day reception, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said that stability has restored to society while national security has been safeguarded under the new law.
Lam has also accused some foreign governments of holding double standards and leveling unjustified accusations against the authorities who implement the new law.
Anti-government protests have been smaller and fewer this year than it was in 2019. This is due to coronavirus restrictions on group gatherings. And also due to the fear of arrest under the new security law. The law punishes anything China sees as subversion, separatism, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces with up to a lifetime sentence in prison.