Hong Kong’s government is expected to explore sweeping emergency legislation on Friday that could include prohibiting face masks in protests, two sources told Reuters, an unprecedented movement to facilitate weeks of violent unrest from the Chinese-ruled city.
Demonstrations are planned on Friday against any possible anti-mask law, with several protests also anticipated over the weekend since activists denounce the police shooting a teenaged secondary college pupil on Tuesday.
Authorities said the officer-involved with the shooting happened in self-defense since his life was under threat. The adolescent, the primary protester struck by live fire of unrest, is in hospital in a stable state.
Invoking emergency law will enable Beijing-backed Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to create any regulations she believes in the public interest, such as censorship of the media and control of transportation.
The government’s move comes following activists rampaged across the former British colony in recent months, putting fires, blocking streets and vandalizing stores and subway stations.
Growing resistance to the Hong Kong government has dropped the fiscal hub into its biggest political crisis in years and introduces the gravest popular obstacle to Chinese President Xi Jinping because he came into power in 2012.
Riot police moved into districts around Hong Kong immediately, shooting tear gas in a chanting crowd at a residential area, whilst railroad operator MTR Corp closed several channels as violence escalated.
All channels were working normally on Friday morning.
Any execution of emergency law may antagonize demonstrators already mad at what they perceive as creeping disturbance by Beijing within their city’s events despite a guarantee of freedom from the”one nation, two systems” formula under which Hong Kong returned to China in 1997.
The authorities declined to comment on whether it had been considering imposing emergency legislation, saying they’d examine present laws to manage the protests.
Black-clad protesters, who normally wear masks to protect their physical appearance, have targeted authorities, who subsequently are accused of excessive force and heavy-handed tactics. Police say they’ve shown restraint in the face of greater violence.
Pro-Beijing groups also have been pushing for laws to prohibit face masks at public demonstrations.
The protests started within a now-withdrawn extradition bill, which could have enabled individuals to be transmitted to mainland China for trial, also have intensified markedly since June. They also have evolved to broader calls for democracy, among other requirements.