HONG KONG, September 6: About 30 people were arrested Sunday at protests against the government’s decision to postpone elections for Hong Kong’s legislature, police and a news report said.
The elections were to have taken place Sunday but Chief Executive Carrie Lam on July 31 postponed them for one year. Lam blamed an upsurge in coronavirus cases, but critics said her government worried the opposition would gain seats if voting went ahead on schedule.
Anti-government protests have been held in Hong Kong almost every weekend since June 2019. They erupted over opposition to a proposed extradition law and spread to include demands for greater democracy and criticism of Beijing’s efforts to tighten control over the former British colony.
On Sunday, one woman was arrested during a protest in the Kowloon district of Yau Ma Tei on charges of assault and spreading pro-independence slogans, the police department said on its Facebook page. It said such slogans are illegal under the newly enacted National Security Act.
The ruling Communist Party’s decision to impose the law in May prompted complaints it was violating the autonomy promised to the territory when it was returned to China in 1997. Washington has withdrawn trading privileges granted to Hong Kong and other governments have suspended extradition and other agreements on the grounds that the region of 7 million people is no longer autonomous.
Also Sunday, police fired pepper balls at protesters in Kowloon’s Mong Kong neighborhood, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported.
Some 30 other people were arrested on suspicion of illegal assembly and two were detained for disorderly conduct, police said.
In the Jordan neighborhood, protesters raised a banner criticizing the election delay, the Post said. It put the number of arrests at 33.
“I want my right to vote!” activist Leung Kwok-hung, popularly known as Long Hair, was quoted as saying. The newspaper said Leung was later arrested. (AP)