Hong Kong police have arrested 287 people during a crackdown on a New Year’s Day protest. Three of those arrested right after the protests on January 01, were human rights monitors from a local human rights group.
Despite having a permit, the Hong Kong Police revoked their authorization for the protest three hours after it had started after a small group of protesters vandalised a bank.
“On the first day of 2020, the Hong Kong Police authorities showed the world their disdain for the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly by violently dispersing a largely peaceful protest,” Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong Man-Kei Tam said.
“The targeting of independent monitors is equally disturbing as they are a vital source of information about any human rights violations during protests, which is essential to ensure full accountability”, Tam said, commenting on the arrest of the three human rights monitors from a local human rights group.
A hand-thrown tear gas canister was deployed against largely peaceful protesters without warning, prompting some protesters to throw hard objects and petrol bombs at the police.
After declaring the demonstration unlawful three hours into the protest, police gave the organiser and tens of thousands of protesters just 30 minutes to disperse. The police then started firing tear gas and water cannon at protesters.
“This in effect prevented people from exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The police should facilitate peaceful protest, not restrict or disrupt it,” saidTam. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)