China Hong Kong police arrested several protesters on national day

Police in Hong Kong on Thursday arrested at least 60 protesters on suspicion of "illegal assembly". They had gathered for a demonstration, which coincided with China's National Day.

China Hong Kong police arrested several protesters on national day

Police said in a statement posted on Facebook that two district councilors were among those arrested.

Protesters in Hong Kong usually use October 1 to draw attention to Beijing's growing influence in the semi-autonomous region.

Last year saw violent clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police. This time, Hong Kong authorities denied permission to march, citing security concerns and an anti-coronavirus ban on more than four public gatherings.

What happened in the protest?

Crowds gather in Hong Kong's Causeway Bay shopping district. Some chanted slogans such as: "End the police", and "Free Hong Kong, the revolution of our time". A popular pro-democracy slogan banned by the Hong Kong government for alleged separatist sentiments.

"In today's China, those who seek independence are oppressed while the oppressors are in power," activist Li Chekiang told reporters.

There was a heavy police presence. Officers used banners to warn the crowd that they were violating national security law by chanting their protest slogans.

Hong Kong news outlet HK01 reported that some protesters were handcuffed by police and snatched by a’ coach.

Earlier on Thursday, Hong Kong police reminded residents that violating the Public Order Ordinance carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, while rioting carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Order restored?

Last year, there were seven months of anti-government and violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong. Since then, China has enacted a controversial security law that critics say it seeks to end dissent.

The arrests came as Hong Kong's chief executive, Kerry Lam, said at a National Day reception on Thursday that "society has been restored and national security has been secured."


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