Hong Kong transport system partially reopens

17 days ago
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Hong Kong transport system partially reopens


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Media captionProtests resumed on Saturday after Friday's rioting

Hong Kong's transport operator MTR resumed metro service on Sunday morning, but some stations remain closed due to "serious vandalism".

Services had been suspended on Saturday after stations and businesses came under attack in violent anti-government protests the previous day.

Meanwhile, pro-democracy legislators are trying to overturn a law banning protesters from wearing face masks.

The High Court has already refused to grant an injunction to halt the ban.

But the legislators say the law is unconstitutional, and they will be raising new legal points at a court hearing on Sunday.

"I would say this is one of the most important constitutional cases in the history of Hong Kong," said Dennis Kwok, the leader of the 24 legislators bringing the court action.

Chief executive Carrie Lam introduced the ban under a colonial-era regulation.

On Saturday, she defended her decision to invoke emergency powers in order to restore order.

Hong Kong had been through a "very dark night" of "extreme violence", she said.

A number of metro stations in the centre of Hong Kong will remain closed on Sunday for repairs, and train services will end at 21:00, three hours earlier than usual.

Many shops and businesses which had remained closed on Saturday reopened on Sunday morning, but more anti-government protests are expected later in the day.

Unrest in the former British colony started in June, sparked by proposals to extradite suspected criminals to mainland China.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Carrie Lam spoke of a "very dark night"

The extradition bill was subsequently cancelled but protests have widened into pro-democracy and anti-police demonstrations.

What did the chief executive say?

"The radical behaviour of rioters took Hong Kong through a very dark night, leaving society today half-paralysed," Carrie Lam said in a pre-recorded video statement on Saturday.

"The extreme violence clearly illustrated that Hong Kong's public safety is widely endangered. That's the concrete reason that we had to invoke emergency law yesterday to introduce the anti-mask law."

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Media captionWatch the moment protesters burn a banner after Hong Kong's face mask ban

"We cannot allow rioters any more to destroy our treasured Hong Kong," she added.

Hundreds of protesters, many of them wearing masks, marched through the Causeway Bay shopping district on Saturday.

"We're not sure what is going to happen later but we felt we had to get out and show our basic right to wear a mask," Sue, 22, told Reuters news agency from behind her black mask and dark glasses.

"The government needs to learn it can't squeeze Hong Kong people like this."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Admirality is one of the stations which will remain closed on Sunday

How dangerous is the situation?

Over the months, clashes between police and activists have become increasingly violent.

Last Tuesday, police shot a protester with a live bullet for the first time, wounding the 18-year-old, who was allegedly attacking a police officer.

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Image caption Some protesters have defied the ban on face masks

On Friday, a boy aged 14 was shot in the leg with a live round in Yuen Long, a town to the west of the city.

A plain-clothes police officer with an unmarked police car was later set upon by rioters in the same area but officials did not link the two incidents, the South China Morning Post reports.

What is Hong Kong's status?

Hong Kong is a former British colony handed back to China in 1997.

It has a "one country, two systems" agreement that guarantees it some autonomy, and its people certain freedoms, including freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.

But those freedoms - the Basic Law - expire in 2047 and it is not clear what Hong Kong's status will then be.

Source :
www.bbc.co.uk