Beijing, Oct 7: China’s security forces on Sunday issued a warning to the anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, during the first interaction since protests erupted in the territory four months ago against a controversial extradition bill that would allow suspects in the city to be sent to mainland China for court prosecution.
This was the first time when Hong Kong protesters met with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) garrison in Kowloon district, when the force cautioned anti-government protesters that they could detain them for targeting its personnel and barrack walls with laser lights.
One of the personnel shouted “bear consequences for your actions” during the mass protest in the city on Sunday, when protesters wearing masks struck the streets, in defiance of the emergency rules (mask ban) invoked by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Friday.
On Friday, Lam announced the mask ban at an afternoon media conference, banning Hong Kong protesters from wearing masks while demonstrating in the city against a controversial extradition bill that would allow suspects in the territory to be sent to mainland China.
According to ABC, thousands of masked protesters ramped the focal financial hub before Lam announced the development, chanting “I want to wear face masks” and “Wearing mask is not a crime”.
The standoff between protesters and PLA came post rallies attended by thousands of anti-government protesters on Sunday concluded in a violent clash in several locales. Police made their first effort to detain several protesters under the new law.
“The anti-mask law just fuels our anger and more will people come on to the street,” Lee, a student wearing a blue mask, said as he marched along with tens of thousands of anti-government protesters on Sunday.
“We are not afraid of the new law, we will continue fighting. We will fight for righteousness. I put on the mask to tell the government that I’m not afraid of tyranny,” he added.
Chinese soldiers held up a sign in Chinese and English which read: “Warning. You are in breach of the law. You may be prosecuted.”
The ban followed widespread civil unrest in the city on Tuesday – when China celebrated its 70th anniversary of Communist Rule, which also include a teenager getting shot by riot police in the chest during the clash between anti-government protesters and Hong Kong police.