As the national security law is about to be implemented by Beijing, hundreds of Hong Kong residents marched silently through the city’s streets on Sunday under the watchful eye of the authorities.
As part of a “silent protest”, in which they marched without the usual chanting or slogan shouting, the crowd moved from Jordan to Mong Kok in the Kowloon district while riot police armed with shields look on.
However, chanting and slogans were shouted towards police and later scuffles broke out in Mong Kok, prompting police to use pepper spray to subdue parts of the crowd, according to a Reuters witness.
The proposed national security laws were reviewed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on Sunday, according to a report by state media Xinhua.
The laws are expected to be passed before the end of June but a draft has yet to be made public.
“I am here to oppose the national security laws,” said Esther, 25 who was on the streets of Jordan on Sunday.
“It’s not the last battle, there is a long term resistance (to the laws).”
The event came a day after Hong Kong police refused permission for an annual march that is held on July 01 to mark the handover of the city from Britain to Chinese authorities 23 years ago.
Police cited in a statement that a march would be in violation of Hong Kong’s current ban of groups of more than 50 people gathering which was put in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
A survey conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute for Reuters showed the national security legislation is opposed by a majority of people in the financial centre.
It also showed support for protests dropping to 51% from 58% in June compared to a previous poll conducted for Reuters in March, while opposition to them rose to 34% from 28%. (Source: Bangkok Post)