Hong Kong: First arrests under ‘anti-protest’ law as handover marked

Hong Kong – Hong Kong has made their first arrests under a new ‘anti-protest’ law imposed by Beijing, as crowd marked 23 years since the end of British rule.

Seven people were accused of violating the law, including a man with a pro-independent flag. Nearly 200 others were detained at a banned rally.

The national law targets secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments up to life in prison.

China has dismissed the criticism that it erodes the freedom of people.

Hong Kong’s sovereignty was handed back to China by Britain in 1997, and certain rights were supposed to be guaranteed for at least 50 years under the “one country, two systems” agreement.

Thousands gathered for the annual pro-democracy rally on Wednesday to mark the anniversary, defying a ban by authorities who cited restrictions on gathering of more than 50 people because of Covid-19.

Police used water cannons, tear gas and pepper spray on protestors and said more than 180 had been arrested, seven of them under the new security law.

The protesters include a man who was holding a “Hong Kong Independence” flag. The man has not been identified and it was not clear whether he would be prosecuted.

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