More than 70 Hong Kongers have been arrested, thousands protest

Police fire rubber bullets and pepper balls at protesters occupying the road outside the Central Library in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Photo: SCMP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HONG KONG, Jul 1, 2020, SCMP. Thousands of people have gathered in Hong Kong on Wednesday in anger over Beijing’s national security law, as the city marks 23 years since its handover from British to Chinese rule, South China Morning Post reported.

On the first full day of the legislation being in force in Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor held a press briefing, admitting the civil unrest that had rocked the city for months last year was sparked by past failures, and saying that the national security law showed ‘Beijing’s confidence’ in the city.

In Causeway Bay, police raised a new flag warning crowds they were violating the freshly minted law, but campaigners still gathered in defiance of a ban on the annual July 1 march. The force made more than 70 arrests over various violations, including under the new legislation.

Police say more than 70 people have been arrested so far, with two on suspicion of violating the national security law. In a Facebook post, the force says some people have blocked roads and disrupted public order.

Police add that spikes were placed on roads in Wan Chai and these have pierced the tyres of some vehicles.

Officers warn that chanting “Hong Kong independence, the only way out” may be in breach of the new legislation.

The justice minister is asked if chanting “Hong Kong independence” is outlawed by the national security legislation.

Teresa Cheng says the whole context of the remarks will have to be examined in each case.

“We can’t say whether it’s guilty of subversion or not by looking at just the slogan. We need to understand the intention behind, the background … whether there are acts and what the evidence points to,” she says.

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