Hong Kong has seen no new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) cases for the third consecutive day in the past week. However, as one battle appears to have been successfully overcome a previous one is reemerging.
Anti-government protests have haunted the semi-autonomous region for months. With what had previously started as protests against a possible extradition treaty between the island and mainland China, soon snowballed into five demands. These included an independent commission of inquiry into alleged police brutality, retracting the classification of protesters as ‘rioters’ and amnesty for arrested protesters.
Last Tuesday evening, on April 21, around 50 protestors congregated at Yuen Long in the northwestern New Territories to mark eight months since an event when police brutality at the same location left 45 injured. The protest last week led to dozens of fines.
On Sunday evening, a few hundred people gathered at a Hong Kong mall protesting against the police, marking the first sizable demonstration since the outbreak subsided in early March this year.
Face masks have come to seemingly represent the interim period Hong Kong remains in, while the people transition from fighting the virus to upholding their democracy. Face masks remain a sign of defiance against law enforcement as well as a measure of concealment of one’s identity during mass protests and had consequently been banned in late 2019. However, due to the pandemic, they have once again become the norm as a preventative measure against the transmission of the virus.
Talks of protests continue to circulate, with some scheduled to defy social distancing regulations that remain in place until at least May 7. However, violations can lead to fines or even imprisonment.