August 28, 2019

Hong Kong Police Ban Mass Weekend Protest March, Organizer Says
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong police banned a protest set for Saturday by the organizer of previous historic mass marches, the group said, in a move that could anger protesters ahead of a planned 13th straight week of pro-democracy demonstrations.Police believe approving the Civil Human Rights Front’s planned march was too risky due to safety concerns after violence flared at rallies last weekend, the South China Morning Post reported earlier Thursday, citing an unidentified police source. Bonnie Leung, CHRF’s vice-convener, told Bloomberg News that police had banned the Saturday rally and the group was planning to appeal. Some previous rallies have been approved at the last minute after negotiations with police.The ban could fuel turnout at a two-day general strike called to start on Monday if the government didn’t concede to its major demands by Saturday, the SCMP said. It could also trigger further outcry as the rally was planned for the fifth anniversary of China’s introduction of an electoral reform package that would have restricted democratic freedoms and was later rejected by Hong Kong.Hong Kong police said they couldn’t immediately comment on the ban.Timeline: How Months of Protests Have Unfolded in Hong KongThe march had been planned to start at centrally located Chater Garden and continue on to China’s liaison office in the city, where Hong Kong’s police and Beijing have drawn their sharpest line after a previous demonstration saw protesters deface the national emblem. Hong Kong’s former leader Leung Chun-ying is promoting a website offering crowd-funded cash bounties to identify protesters who have perpetrated vandalism, including HK$1 million ($127,000) for the person who splashed black paint on the emblem.The CHRF has organized three record-breaking peaceful marches over weeks of protests, including the June 9 rally against legislation easing extraditions to China that sparked what’s morphed into a broader movement against Beijing’s tightening grip over the city. The group said each march brought more than 1 million people onto the streets, while police estimates are lower, in the hundreds of thousands.Its latest march would come after a weekend that began with the formation of a peaceful human chain across the city and culminated two days later with police firing a weapon and using water cannons for the first time.Officers fired tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds at protesters who threw bricks and petrol bombs in the Tsuen Wan area of the New Territories and charged police with metal poles. Police said 86 people were arrested for alleged offenses including unlawful assembly, possession of weapons and assaulting officers.(Updates with comment from organizer.)To contact the reporter on this story: Sheryl Tian Tong Lee in Hong Kong at slee1905@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Karen Leigh, Jon HerskovitzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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