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Singaporeans in Hong Kong advised to avoid large crowds ahead of planned extradition Bill protest: MFA

Singaporeans in Hong Kong advised to avoid large crowds ahead of planned extradition Bill protest: MFA

Tens of thousands attended a rally to support Hong Kong's leadership amid the city's biggest political crisis in decades AFP/TENGKU Bahar

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans in Hong Kong have been advised to "stay away from large crowds" ahead of another protest in the city on Sunday (Jun 21) over a polarising extradition Bill.

On its website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said a protest march is expected from Causeway Bay to Central, through Wanchai and Admiralty.

"Traffic and public transport disruptions in these areas are expected," the ministry said, adding that Singaporeans should monitor local news and Hong Kong's transport department's special traffic news page for updates. 

"The Consulate is closely monitoring the situation, and will update Singaporeans as appropriate," MFA added.

READ: What lies ahead for Hong Kong, a city on edge

MFA's notice comes a day ahead of another mass protest planned against the Hong Kong government and its handling of the now-suspended extradition Bill that would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for trial.

The city's government said on its website that police will "implement crowd safety management measures and special traffic arrangements" to facilitate the march.

Police have also called for calm ahead of Sunday's protest, where security is expected to be tight. Authorities have removed metal barriers - which activists have used to block roads during previous demonstrations - from areas around the march route.


The notices from the authorities follow two peaceful-turned-violent protests last weekend.

Two initially peaceful protests degenerated into running skirmishes between baton-wielding riot police and activists, resulting in scores of injuries and more than 40 arrests.

Over 30 Hong Kong protesters who fear prosecution for their involvement in the ransacking of the finance hub's legislature have arrived in Taiwan to seek shelter, local media said AFP/Anthony WALLACE
Police officers run as an umbrella is dropped by protesters during a clash inside a shopping arcade in Sha Tin of Hong Kong. (Photo: AFP/Philip Fong)

Those fights followed larger outbreaks of violence in central Hong Kong last month, when police forced back activists with tear gas, rubber bullets and bean-bag rounds.

READ: Thousands in pro-police rally as Hong Kong braces for another mass protest

Activists and human rights groups have called for an independent investigation into what they describe as excessive use of force by police.

A group of elderly people march to the government headquarters in Hong Kong on Jul 17, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Anthony Wallace) ​​​​​​​

The protesters are also demanding the word "riot" be withdrawn from the government's description of demonstrations and the unconditional release of those arrested.

What started as protests over the extradition Bill have now morphed into demands for greater democracy, the resignation of leader Carrie Lam, and even curbing the number of mainland Chinese tourists to Hong Kong.

READ: Hong Kong extradition Bill: How it came to be declared 'dead'

Under the terms of the handover from Britain in 1997, Hong Kong was allowed to retain extensive freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland under a "one country, two systems" formula, including an independent judiciary and right to protest.

But for many Hong Kong residents, the extradition Bill is the latest step in a relentless march toward mainland control.

Opponents of the extradition Bill fear it would leave Hong Kong people at the mercy of Chinese courts, where human rights are not guaranteed, and have voiced concerns over the city's much-cherished rule of law.

Source: CNA/reuters/aa(hm)


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