Many officers are wearing riot gear. Meshed and barbed wire barriers have been set up; checks and searches; passages closed. 16 people arrested, many young people aged 14-15, for possession of "weapons": screwdrivers, Molotov cocktails, scissors, blades, cables. Social boycott in progress: subway trains stopped; nails scattered on the roads; traffic slowdown in underwater tunnels. Flash-mob in a shopping mall. Only 5 people in the audience can enter parliament today to follow the discussion.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - At least 3,500 policemen, many in riot gear, are engaged in the Admiralty area, where the parliament of Hong Kong (Legco) is located, to stop any action that could block the discussion and the launch of a Chinese national anthem law. If this law passes, anyone who offends or manipulates the words of the hymn is liable to a fine of 50,000 Hong Kong dollars and a sentence of up to three years in prison.
Much of the local population sees this law as yet another imposition by Beijing which, added to the iminent national security law, also imposed from above, undermines Hong Kong's civil liberties.
As a result, at least 30 trade unions and 20 secondary schools today decided to strike to stop the discussion and the passing of the law.
Since early morning, the police surrounded the Legco area with barriers, metal and barbed wire and blocked the streets that lead from that subway in that direction, checking the identities of those who want to pass for work.
In the morning, the police arrested at least 16 people, aged between 14 and 40. Everyone is suspected of carrying offensive weapons in a public place. Screwdrivers, Molotov cocktails, scissors, blades, cables were found in the bags of some young people.
Social boycott incidents were also reported: nails thrown on the roads, vehicles driving slowly in underwater tunnels, subway train doors blocked by objects.
At least 100 young people gathered in the Hysan Place shopping center, in Causeway Bay, for a flash mob of "sing with me": occupying two floors of the mall, they sang the anthem of the protesters, " Glory to Hong Kong "and shouted slogans such as "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time"and" Self-determination, independent Hong Kong ".
The slogan is a provocation to China, which is preparing the national security law to target "secession attempts".
"We are forced to push for independence - said a young man - because the government is deaf to our requests".
Today it seems impossible even to listen to the debate at Legco: only five seats have been reserved for the public, all occupied. Carol Ng Man-yee, president of the trade union confederation, who wanted to be in the Legco to witness the vote, accused the police of this reduction in seats. "This is depriving the public of the right to know," he told SCMP. "The heavy police presence on the streets today is not just for security, but to terrify the people of Hong Kong and silence them."