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Hong Kong bans annual pro-democracy demonstration

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Hong Kong bans annual pro-democracy demonstration

In 17 years, this is the first time that the government has not allowed acts on July 1. Police cite violence and risk of contamination by coronavirus Hong Kong demonstration

The Hong Kong police announced on Saturday (27) the ban, for the first time in the last 17 years, of the pro-democracy demonstration on July 1, a date that marks the return of British sovereignty to China in 1997.

In a letter sent to the pro-democracy group Human Rights Civil Front (CHRF), the corporation cites episodes of violence that occurred in the recent past in this type of protest, in addition to considering that the demonstration would violate security rules to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Due to the persistent social unrest, the Hong Kong police have studied the risks and believe that some participants in this meeting and public demonstration may move and deviate from the proposed routes to violently vandalize buildings,” explains the letter, released by CHRF on social networks.

Although most of the demonstrations called by CHRF were peaceful, the police say the individuals cited “may pose a serious threat to the safety of other participants, citizens, journalists and agents”. The police also say that “you (organizers) do not have the capacity to control your actions”.

The corporation also argues that the protest would exceed the meetings of a maximum of 50 people authorized by current regulations to prevent coronavirus contagion.

This same reason served to ban, on June 4 and for the first time in 30 years, the annual vigil in remembrance of the Tiananmen massacre, although many people ignored the veto and the protest took place without incident, but in far fewer numbers than other years.

Hong Kong government chief Carrie Lam denied that there are political motivations behind these prohibitions, although at the same time Disneyland Hong Kong’s theme park, public pools and bars can operate freely.

For more than a year, the situation in Hong Kong has deteriorated due to the impact of pro-democracy protests on the city’s economy, where local GDP fell 2.8% and 3% in the last two quarters of 2019, respectively, and 8 , 9% in the first quarter of 2020, which was aggravated this year by the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The political landscape in the former British colony is also far from resolved, with the Beijing and Hong Kong governments not very favorable to dialogue and compromise, and with a pro-democracy movement that gained new momentum after the recent approval of a law that criminalizes insults to the Chinese anthem and a security law passed by the Chinese legislature last month.

The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which articulated the return of Hong Kong from British to Chinese hands in 1997, established the maintenance for at least 50 years (from that date) of a series of freedoms in the region unimaginable in mainland China. EFE

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