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23 Dec 2019 | 08:28 AM UTC

Hong Kong: Protests reported in Central December 23 /update 178

Thousands of activists protest in Central December 23; heightened security presence and transportation disruptions expected

security
transportation
HKG

Event

Thousands of pro-democracy activists reportedly gathered at around 20:00 (local time) outside of Hong Kong City Hall in Central on Monday, December 23, to protest the police shutdown of a fund-raising platform for protesters, Spark Alliance, on Thursday, December 19. A heightened security presence along with localized transportation and business disruptions are anticipated near the protest site over the coming hours. Clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.

Pro-democracy protesters are planning to rally in several locations across Hong Kong, including in major shopping malls and in the Tsim Sha Shui area on Tuesday, December 24, and Wednesday, December 25. Significant transportation disruptions, including road and MTR station closures, are anticipated near the protest site. Associated commercial disruptions are also likely through the week. Up-to-date information on train service and possible station closures can be found on the MTR website here.

Further protests may be organized with little warning over the short term and a heightened security presence is likely across Hong Kong until the political situation in the city fully stabilizes. Severe transportation and business disruptions are to be expected during all periods of protest activity.

Further protests may be organized with little warning in the short term and a heightened security presence is likely across Hong Kong until the political situation in the city fully stabilizes.

Context

Pro-democracy candidates won 389 of the 452 seats in the territory's district council elections on November 24. The pro-democracy movement victory, along with the high turnout (71%) of the vote, suggest that the public continues to support protests, although tensions have significantly escalated across Hong Kong since November 11, after a police officer shot a protester in Sai Wan Ho.

On September 4, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, which would have allowed authorities in Hong Kong to extradite fugitives wanted in mainland China and other territories. The bill sparked mass protests of up to 2 million people throughout Hong Kong since June 9. However, protest actions have continued since the government's announcement, as protester demands evolved into a wider pro-democracy movement, calling for government reforms and police accountability over violence.

Demonstrations have spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories in recent weeks and have also become increasingly violent. Activists have also accused the police of using unnecessary force in their attempts to disperse protesters.  

Advice

Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business around protest sites, confirm the status of their flights prior to departure for the airport, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.

Individuals are also advised to avoid wearing black and white colors around protest zones or rallies as they are associated with protesters.