Hong Kong police have issued a ban on an upcoming pro-democracy march set for July 1st,... citing the COVID-19 pandemic,... and to prevent vandalism.
With Beijing's national security law on Hong Kong set to be passed soon,... Lee Seung-jae takes a look at what's to come next.
On July 1, 2003,... 500-thousand people marched through the streets of Hong Kong,... to demand the scraping of a proposed security bill.
With Beijing preparing to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong,... protesters have been organizing what could've been one of the biggest marches on Wednesday.
That's until the Hong Kong police have gotten involved,... banning the annual pro-democracy march.
According to a letter from the Hong Kong police to the Civil Human Rights Front,... the event's organizers,... it cited COVID-19 related health and safety concerns,... as well as the possibility for violence and vandalism that could arise during the protests.
The organizers, however, argue that past marches have always been peaceful.
They added the ban is a sign of the coming repression,... even before the law is passed.
Earlier this year,... the traditional memorial vigil for the people killed in Tiananmen Square was also banned for COVID-19 related reasons,... but tens of thousands of people joined the annual event anyway.
Watchers thought a march on July 1st,... would be a challenge to Beijing and the passing of the national security law,... as the march 17 years ago led to the then-public safety bill proposed by the Hong Kong government to be scrapped.
Despite calls for the scrapping of the national security law,... Chinese lawmakers could approve it as early as this week.
While the National People's Congress Standing Committee usually meets every two months,... this time,... the committee is meeting just a little over a week after its last session,... suggesting Beijing wants the law passed before July 1st,... which also marks the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty.
Ban or no ban,... with the new law looming,...the streets of Hong Kong are expected to be filled with citizens again,... possibly mirroring the march that started it all,... 17 years ago.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.