Hong Kong police today arrested 69 people for trying to gather and protest against National Security Law imposed in the semi-autonomous territory by Beijing on June 30 this year. Hong Kong police in a tweet said that they were arrested for an illegal gathering for which permission was not granted. Protestors chanted pro-democracy slogans even as Chief Executive Carrie Lam participated in National Day ceremony amid tight security. Police had banned the protest, citing restrictions owing to pandemic on group gatherings and violence at previous marches.
Police conducted stop and search operations and tried stopping crowds from gathering. As per media reports, Protesters also wanted to demand the return of 12 Hong Kong people who were arrested at sea by Chinese authorities in August. They are now in detention in the mainland city of Shenzhen, having been arrested for illegal border crossing and organising cross-border crimes. All were suspected of committing crimes in Hong Kong related to last year’s protests.
Anti-government protests, which often turned violent in 2019, have been smaller and fewer this year due to coronavirus restrictions on group gatherings and fears 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 life in prison.