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Western District on lockdown for likely protest

2019-08-31 HKT 12:40
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  • Western District on lockdown for likely protest
Police have ordered road closures and public transport has been shut down close to the liaison office in Western District as expectations grow of a large-scale, unauthorised protest on Saturday afternoon.

Water-filled barriers have been installed around the liaison office and a large number of police vehicles have been seen in the area. Pictures from the area circulated online showed the police's new anti-riot water cannons, which were deployed for the first time in Tsuen Wan on Sunday.

The MTR will not serve Sai Ying Pun from 1.30pm onwards and trams were suspended between Hill Road and the Macau Ferry Terminal soon after 12pm. Stretches of Connaught Road and Des Voeux Road West are closed, as is the Shek Tong Tsui exit of the Western Harbour Crossing and the western exit of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass.

Chief Transport Officer Lai Chui-ying said the exit of the harbour tunnel had been temporarily blocked at police request. She said Des Voeux Road West was blocked by large water-filled barriers in both directions, although the Transport Department had not been notified of this in advance.

Bus routes have been diverted.

Police also issued a text message warning of a public event "which may cause severe disruption" and urging people to "stay alert and check for police updates".

Meanwhile a group of people have gathered at Southorn Playground in Wan Chai for what they describe as march to Government House to "pray for sinners". They say that as a religious event, it does not require police approval.

Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of a controversial edict from Beijing setting out how Hong Kong could elect its chief executive by universal suffrage. The ruling would have allowed for open elections, but only from a shortlist of candidates chosen by an election committee dominated by Beijing loyalists.

The move sparked the 79-day Occupy protests in 2014.

The Civil Human Rights Front had planned to stage a rally at Chater Garden in Central on Saturday but cancelled the event after an appeal board upheld police objections.
Last updated: 2019-08-31 HKT 14:01