- Chinese soldiers standing on the roof of the Army Camp in Kowloon District, Hong Kong, held up a sign in English and Chinese that read, “warning. You are in breach of the law. You may be prosecuted.”
- Hong Kong police made the first arrests under the new anti-mask law and detained many.
- "The anti-mask law just fuels our anger and more will people come on to the street."
Chinese troops stationed in Hong Kong warned protesters on Sunday when they shone a laser at a garrison in the city, according to Reuters. This was the first direct confrontation between Hong Kong protesters and military forces from the mainland in four months of anti-government protests. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) garrison stationed in Kowloon District, Hong Kong, warned a crowd of several hundred protesters that they might be arrested for shining laser lights on soldiers and garrison.
An officer shouted over the loudspeaker in Cantonese— the main language of Hong Kong— “you will have to suffer the consequences!” The confrontation with the military forces took place after the protests involving tens of thousands of participants on Sunday ended in violence in many parts of the city. Police fired tear gas at protesters to disperse the crowd. Protesters responded with bricks and petrol bombs.
Protesters still wear masks despite the city’s ban on Friday.The police made the first arrests under the new law and detained many. The police tied their wrists with cables and unmasked before taking them onto the bus. Some protesters curled up on the ground, their wrists tied behind their backs, after being suppressed with pepper spray and batons. Protesters could face up to a year in prison for violating the anti-mask law.
“The anti-mask law just fuels our anger and more will people come on to the street,” Lee, a college student wearing a blue mask, said Sunday. “We are not afraid of the new law, we will continue fighting,” he told Reuters news agency. “We will fight for righteousness. I put on the mask to tell the government that I’m not afraid of tyranny.”
Chinese soldiers standing on the roof of the Army Camp in Kowloon District, Hong Kong, held up a sign in English and Chinese that read, “warning. You are in breach of the law. You may be prosecuted.” Soldiers in combat uniforms also illuminated the crowd and used binoculars and cameras to track protesters.
In August, Beijing moved thousands of troops across the border into Hong Kong, in a move that Xinhua described at the time as a “conventional” garrison rotation. But garrisons have remained in the barracks since the protests began, prompting Hong Kong police forces to deal with large protests and often become violent. The head of the garrison warned that the violence was completely “unacceptable.”
Officials planned to use a colonial-era emergency law to ban the wearing of masks and quell anti-government protests. The Emergency Regulations Ordinance has not been used for over 50 years.
Hong Kong protests erupted in June, due to a proposal to extradite criminals to mainland China. Crіtісѕ fеаred thіѕ соuld undеrmіnе thе judісіаl іndереndеnсе оf thе сіtу аnd еndаngеr dіѕѕіdеntѕ. Thе ban оn mаѕks was аnnоunсеd оn Frіdау аftеr thе Executive Council mееtіng, in which the еmеrgеnсу law wаѕ еnасtеd, lосаl TVB rероrtеd.
Thе lаw gives Hоng Kong leader Cаrrіе Lam thе rіght tо “еnасt аnу lаwѕ she may dееm nесеѕѕаrу fоr thе соmmоn gооd,” іn аn “еmеrgеnсу оr danger tо thе community.”