July 1 Protests in Hong Kong

July 1 Protests in Hong Kong

A woman reacts to pepper spray as police fire protesters in Hong Kong on Wednesday (July 1st).

Dale De La Rey / AFP / Getty Images

Updated at 3:06 a.m. ET, Thursday, July 2, 2020

A woman reacts to pepper spray as police fire protesters in Hong Kong on Wednesday (July 1st).

Dale De La Rey / AFP / Getty Images

For the second consecutive summer, political unrest returned to the streets of Hong Kong.

Hundreds of protesters were arrested in the busy shopping area of ​​Causeway Bay on Wednesday, July 1, after China’s central government imposed a law on national security for the semi-autonomous city. Protesters and police also clashed in May and June following the first security law proposal.

The new law dramatically expands the powers of local and continental authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish dissidents.

Critics say the law has stripped Hong Kong of its autonomy and precious civil and social freedoms. The Chinese and local governments argue that it is necessary to reduce unrest and maintain continental sovereignty.

Last summer, anti-government protests erupted in strong opposition to a proposed extradition law. Critics feared the bill would allow citizens to be sent across the border into mainland China. Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lamm withdrew the bill in September, but declined to justify four other demands, which include greater democracy for the city and an independent police conduct committee.

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