Hong Kong bans protesters from wearing masks but protests continue

By Helene Fung

On Friday, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam used a legal provision, Emergency Regulations Ordinances, to grant herself the ability to bypass the legislature and make any law during a time of emergency or public danger, and enacted a law banning protesters from wearing masks, effective from midnight.

Many protesters have been using masks to hide their identity and also to protect themselves against tear gas fired by the police. 

Protesters reacted angrily, and vandalised shops seen to be pro-government or pro-police, set fires and blocked roads. They also vandalised subway stations, because the rail operator MTR was seen to be co-operating with the police during previous clashes. Damages from Friday night were so severe, MTR suspended all services on Saturday morning. 

In clashes Friday night, a 14-year-old boy was shot and wounded by a police officer, and is said to be in serious but non-critical condition.

Protests continued on Saturday in many districts, but numbers were down.

Many major shopping malls, Chinese banks and supermarket chains announced that they would be closed. 

Carrie Lam released a recorded message on Saturday, denouncing the “radical behaviour” which left “society today half-paralysed”. 

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