Police warned Hongkongers on July 1 against displaying banners or flags that could put them in breach of a controversial new national security law.
The law signed by China’s President Xi Jinping criminalizes acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign and external forces to jeopardise national security, according to the South China Morning Post. Under the law, offenders may be given a life sentence as the maximum punishment.
On Wednesday, the day after the law came into effect, protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong. This footage shows a police officer holding a purple banner displaying a warning that reads:
“You are displaying flags or banners / chanting slogans or conducting yourselves with an intent such as secession or subversion, which may constitute offences under the HKSAR National Security Law. You may be arrested and prosecuted.”
Local media reported that people with Hong Kong independence flags could be considered to be violating the new security law.
The Hong Kong Police tweeted that they made more than 70 arrests. Among them was a man arrested for “holding” a Hong Kong independence flag, in violation of the new law.
The protests, which coincided with annual rallies marking the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997, became heated on Wednesday with police using pepper spray and water cannons to control crowds. Credit: Studio Incendo via Storyful