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.
PEACEFUL PROTESTS THAT TOOK A VIOLENT TURN
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.
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.
The protesters are also demanding the word “riot” be withdrawn from the government’s description of demonstrations and the unconditional release of those arrested.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.