News Hong Kong protests return in shopping centres as coronavirus wanes

Hong Kong protests return in shopping centres as coronavirus wanes

Hong Kong Police allegedly shoot pepper spray pellets in Mokomall on Mother's Day. Photo: Imaginaire/Twitter
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Protests have sprung up across Hong Kong as dozens gathered in shopping centres to voice their anger with the government and police, who protesters say are abusing social distancing laws to restrict civil liberties.

A heavy police presence thwarted a Hong Kong Independence march called for Sunday by the online protest community.

However, dozens of people wearing masks attended protests in shopping centres in at least six districts.

Police warned protesters that they were breaching the social distancing order prohibiting more than eight people from gathering in a public place.

In the upscale Tsim Sha Tsui district, near the starting point of the proposed march, at least two protesters were arrested.

Some protesters held black banners advocating Hong Kong’s independence and groups sang the popular protest anthem Glory to Hong Kong.

One middle-aged man held a sign shaming the police for an incident last week in which two officers were found to have stolen 25 kilograms of illegal drugs from a recent bust.

Riot police stopped and searched dozens of young people near the Tsim Sha Tsui ferry and at shopping centres where protesters were assembled.

Police shoved reporters as they removed them from a protest at one shopping centre.

The online protest community has accused the government of keeping social distancing laws in place to prevent protests since the city has recorded no new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 in the past three weeks.

The protests first broke out last June over a proposed bill largely seen as a threat to Hong Kong’s autonomy from China.