Hong Kong police fire pepperballs at protesters and arrest 180 people for unauthorised assembly | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP


Hong Kong police fired pepperballs in the central business district after protesters gathered in opposition to the national anthem and national security law.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Demonstrators chanted pro-democracy slogans in Causeway Bay and Central at lunchtime.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

They also chanted “Hong Kong independence, the only way out” and “one nation, one Hong Kong.”

Photo: May James/HKFP.

At least 50 young people were held by police outside Hysan Place mall in Causeway Bay.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

They were held for over an hour before being marched onto a police bus.

Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Activists were also rounded up and kettled in Central, where police shot pepperball rounds near D’Aguilar Street.

More than 50 young people were also detained and held outside Langham Place mall in Mong Kok.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Police raised flags on Hong Kong Island warning that protesters were in breach of the law and they may use force to disperse them.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Other protesters gathered in malls to chant slogans, whilst a small group gathered in Mong Kok.

Photo: Kero/United Social Press.

“At around 1 PM, protestors occupied the carriageways in the vicinity of Pedder Street, Central, causing serious obstruction to traffic,” police said in a Facebook post.

HKFP_Live: Pepper balls have been fired in Central as crowds gathered to protest.Posted by Hong Kong Free Press HKFP on Tuesday, 26 May 2020

“Police officers have repeatedly warned protestors to leave immediately. Officers are taking resolute action to enforce the law and using the minimum necessary force. Protestors are warned to stop road blockage, proceed to safe locations and leave as soon as possible.”

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Earlier, police set up a heavy security presence around the government headquarters and legislature in Admiralty in anticipation of the demonstrations.

HKFP_Live: Protesters have gathered in Causeway Bay amid a heavy police presence near the legislature.Posted by Hong Kong Free Press HKFP on Tuesday, 26 May 2020

According to police on Facebook, around 180 people have been arrested in Causeway Bay and Central in connection with allegedly participating in an unauthorised assembly.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

The force also said that at least 16 people aged between 16 and 40 had been arrested as of 11.30 am.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

They were arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon, possession of instruments fit for unlawful purposes and dangerous driving.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

There have been online calls for a general strike and encirclement of the legislature, to halt the passing of the proposed law which would criminalise insulting the national anthem March of the Volunteers, punishable by a fine of up to HK$50,000 and three years behind bars.

Photo: Kero/United Social Press.

There has also been opposition to Beijing’s decision to directly insert national security laws into the annex of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, bypassing the local legislature.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Critics have said the legislation – prohibiting secession, sedition and subversion – would signal the death of the city’s cherished freedoms.

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