Hong Kong's mass transit rail system has been suspended after a night of violent unrest, with protesters wearing face masks in defiance of a ban newly introduced by the government.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she invoked the new restriction under the Emergency Regulations Ordinances, a colonial-era plan that allows her to circumvent the legislature and enforce any regulations during a time of emergency or public danger.
Thousands of angry demonstrators filled the streets in the central business district on Friday evening shouting "Hong Kong, resist."
The ban applies to all public areas where protesters might gather. The prohibition means the wearing of full or partial face coverings, including face paint, at public gatherings is punishable by one year in jail.
Nevertheless, protesters continued to vandalize subway stations, start fires and smash the windows of pro-China businesses as clashes erupted throughout Friday evening. Police used tear gas to quell demonstrators.
In a move that investors hope will calm the incessant protests that have brought Hong Kong's economy to a standstill over the past four months, Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her top advisors are holding an emergency meeting to impose a ban on wearing masks in public. Lam will hold a meeting of the executive council, her de facto cabinet, to impose the ban as soon as Friday, SCMP reports.
Hkmap Live is a crowdsourced app that uses reports from a Telegram group to track the locations of protesters, police, and traffic, as well as the use of antipersonnel weapons like tear gas, mass arrests of people wearing t-shirts associated with the protest movement, and mass transit closures in proximity to demonstrations (it's a bit like Sukey, the British anti-kettling app).
China has quietly more than doubled its deployment of mainland security forces in Hong Kong, according to foreign envoys and security analysts, in the most dramatic move yet by Beijing to prepare for a potential worsening of unrest in the global financial center.
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