If you’ve not been following the news, you’d probably be thinking, “What? The protests are still ongoing even when that extradition-thingy bill has been officially withdrawn? Ah Lam still the head there? Not Jack Ma?”
Well, to my dear friend whose Facebook newsfeed has been taken over by cute animals and long-time-no-see uncles posting about their badminton games: the protests have never ended.
Just a recap: a bill (kind of like a proposal before it’s being voted as a law) that allows other countries to extradite criminals from Hong Kong was introduced in February 2019 after a 19-year-old Hong Kong man murdered his girlfriend while holidaying in Taiwan. After he went back to Hong Kong, Taiwan requested for the man but Hong Kong couldn’t do so because of the lack of an extradition agreement.
People in Hong Kong didn’t like the bill as they think that it would give China power to anyhowly extradite people they don’t like to China and prosecute them, so they protested.
It went from peaceful protests (generally marching in masses), which is legal, to slightly violent ones. The bill was initially declared “dead” but not withdrawn; people weren’t happy and continued to protest, from marches to disrupting the city’s normal operations like gathering in train stations to stopping the train from moving lah, blocking the streets lah, throwing things at buildings lah…etc
Soon, it was withdrawn. But the protests didn’t end.
By then, people weren’t just protesting the bill, but about democracy altogether: they want more now, like resignation of Carrie Lam, releasing arrested protestors, getting accountability for the police’s conduct and whatnot.
Most of the protestors are young people or students, and if you’ve watched videos about them, you’d realise some of them seem to be merely following the trend of protesting.
Now, here’s a disclaimer: Goody Feed’s not on anyone’s side. We just want more clicks for our article #truthful
Anyways, the protests went to a whole new level yesterday after Carrie Lam imposed a ban on face masks soon after China’s National Day.
Ban on Face Masks
China’s National Day falls on 1 October 2019, and it predictably drew more protestors to the streets.
But that’s not that important.
Yesterday, all of a sudden, Carrie Lam announced an emergency law that’ll start today (6 October 2019), whereby protestors can’t wear face masks, if not they can be charged and jailed up to six months and/or fined 10,000 HKD (~S$1,758) even if you’ve got good GPA.
But can Hong Kong just anyhowly create a law?
Yes, under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, which hasn’t been invoked in 52 years. The law allows authorities to “make any regulations whatsoever” in the public interest—kind of like Executive Order in the US.
Ms Lam said, “We believe that the law will create a deterrent effect against masked violent protesters and rioters, and will assist the police in its law enforcement.”
Which makes perfect sense: protestors are wearing masks (and some even wearing gas mask, the ones we NSFs / NSmen used for chemical warfare) to hide their identity, not just from the authorities but from their family members / employers.
Needless to say, that fuelled even more protests…a day before the ban.
Entire Rail Network Suspended Due to Protests
Imagine the entire MRT network down on a Friday night: private hire drivers would be cheering while people like you and me are going to stay outdoors the entire night.
And that’s what happened in Hong Kong, a city that relies heavily on its rail network, too.
Violent clashes occurred last night after the announcement, as protestors turned up in droves everywhere to damage MTR stations…
…torch the entrances of MTR stations…
…and started fires everywhere.
The extent of the damage is so wide, all train stations were suspended yesterday night, and as of this morning, the rail network is still not running.
According to MTR Corporation, “All MTR services covering the Heavy Rail including Airport Express, Light Rail and MTR bus cannot be resumed this morning…After the outbreak of violence at multiple districts, maintenance staff have to make sure of their own safety before they could travel to the damaged stations to inspect and assess the extent of damages at our stations, and to carry out repair works.”
Yesterday night, some bus services were disrupted too, which meant some people were rendered homeless for a night even if they don’t take the train home.
It’s unknown if the protests would quell with the new law. This, obviously, is a developing story that has been developing for months.
Aren’t you glad that in Singapore, the only time people gather together is for food or bubble tea?