Hong Kong to tone down Chinese National Day celebrations due to ongoing protests
Hong Kong is set to tone down Chinese National Day celebrations to avoid potentially chaotic disruptions by anti-government protesters in the city.
The guests attending the cocktail reception at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai have also been told that they will stay indoors to watch the live broadcast of flag-raising ceremony at the Golden Bauhinia Square waterfront,reported South China Morning Post.
It added that as many as 12,000 guests would be invited, according to a Home Affairs Department spokesman: “In view of the recent atmosphere in society, we will arrange for guests to stay indoors to watch the flag-raising ceremony so as to ensure it can be held in an orderly and solemn manner.”
The arrangements for the day will be similar to that on July 1 for the Hong Kong’s handover anniversary, when Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other dignitaries watched the flag-raising ceremony on a screen.
Last week, the government also announced that the annual National Day fireworks would be cancelled due to the ongoing civil unrest.
Earlier this Sunday, protesters vandalised a subway station, set fire and trampled on Chinese flags as the pro-democracy demonstrations once again took a violent turn for the 16th consecutive weekend.
Demonstrators clashed with riot police outside a mall as officers fired brief volleys of tear gas and rubber-coated bullets in the northern town of Sha Tin.
While police stepped up security checks in a successful bid to stop people from crowding at the bustling transport hub, authorities reduced rail and bus links to the city’s airport.
The Hong Kong airport, the world’s eighth busiest, has become a frequent target for demonstrators pushing for greater democratic rights and police accountability.
Millions of supporters of the pro-democracy movement have taken to Hong Kong’s streets for the past three months in the biggest challenge to China’s rule since the city’s handover from Britain in 1997.
With very few having demands fulfilled, violent clashes across the semi-autonomous region have become more intense and frequent in recent weeks.
The protests were ignited by a now-aborted plan to allow extraditions to mainland China. (ANI)