Photos show democracy protests reigniting in Hong Kong after China passed a sweeping measure to crush the city's autonomy

Ivan Abreu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesRiot police pepper spray while clashing with a group of mediators during demonstrations against the draft bill.
  • On Thursday, China passed a new national security measure for Hong Kong that effectively crushes the city’s autonomy.
  • The legislation is meant to severely limit dissent, and could allow China to set up a police force within the city, ban activist groups, and put an end to the semiautonomous powers that Hong Kong has had since 1997.
  • Critics of the new legislation have called it the “end of Hong Kong” and see it as retaliation for over six months of protests that occurred last year in opposition to a Chinese extradition bill.
  • Over the past few days, thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to reignite a pro-democracy fight and protest the new draconian law. At least 360 people have been arrested.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In a landslide vote on Thursday, China passed new national security legislation for Hong Kong that will effectively crush the city’s autonomy.

The legislation is meant to crack down on dissent, subversion, terrorism, and treason against the Chinese government, and will work to limit the freedoms of the semiautonomous arrangement that Hong Kong has had since 1997.

The new measure gives China the authority to draft and propose national security laws, such as establishing a formal police presence within Hong Kong, suppressing political speech and activism, and imposing long jail sentences for violations.

Critics of the new legislation have called it the “end of Hong Kong” and see it as a major blow to the city’s freedoms. Others view it as a measure of retaliation to suppress Hong Kong voices after several months of protests against a Chinese extradition law occurred last year.

Over the last few days, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to fight against the new draconian measure. At least 360 have been arrested.


In the last week, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets and shopping districts of Hong Kong to protest a new national security measure from China.

Tang Yan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesHundreds of demonstrators chanting pro-democracy slogans are seen during the protests on May 27, 2020. Hong Kong police fired pepper pellets in the central business district and arrested almost 300 people.

Source: Business Insider


The measure, which was ultimately passed on Thursday, will allow China to enforce new national security laws against Hong Kong, effectively silencing any voices of dissent and ending the city’s semi-autonomy.

Tyrone Siu/REUTERSPeople wearing face masks take part in a protest against the second reading of a controversial national anthem law in Hong Kong, China, on May 27, 2020.

Source: Business Insider


The protests echoed last year’s fight for democracy, when millions of people took to the streets for several months to fight against a bill that would allow China to extradite Hong Kong residents to the mainland for trial.

Anthony Kwan/Getty ImagesA protester makes a gesture during a protest on June 12, 2019 in Hong Kong China. Large crowds of protesters gathered in central Hong Kong as the city braced for another mass rally in a show of strength against the government over a divisive plan to allow extraditions to China.

Source: Insider


Those protests ignited an entire pro-democracy movement within the city, and many have since demanded an increase in freedoms for the semiautonomous region.

Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty ImagesHong Kong protesters rally against China’s national security law at Mongkok district on May 27, 2020 in Hong Kong, China.

Source: Insider


But the new legislation marks a major blow to the pro-democracy fight, and critics have said it could mean the end of Hong Kong’s freedoms. “The end of Hong Kong is alarming not only for its people but also for the world,” said Maya Wang, a senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch, adding, “It’s the light, the conscience, the voice that speaks truth to an increasingly powerful China.”

Ivan Abreu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesRiot police pepper spray while clashing with a group of mediators during demonstrations against the draft bill.

Sources: Hong Kong Free Press, Business Insider


To fight against the new legislation, pro-democracy protesters marched through the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday chanting slogans like, “Revolution of our time. Liberate Hong Kong,” and “Hong Kong independence, the only way out.”

Kyodo News via Getty ImagesPeople protest in Hong Kong on May 24, 2020, against China’s move to introduce the mainland’s national security law in the territory, which is feared will hurt Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Source: Business Insider


Inside shopping malls, protesters gathered holding signs and chanting pro-democracy slogans.

Willie Siau/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesProtesters gathered inside a mall during the demonstration. Protesting against a bill that would criminalise insulting the Chinese national anthem, demonstrators marched on the streets and chanted songs and slogans. Later, police in riot gear appeared and fired pepper spray, arresting several protesters.

Source: The Guardian


Here, a group of people are seen holding banners in support of Hong Kong’s protest efforts, with masks on to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

REUTERS/Ben BlanchardProtesters holding banners in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrators attend a rally against the Chinese government’s newly announced national security legislation for Hong Kong, at Taipei main train station in Taiwan May 23, 2020.

Protesters held their hands up as a symbol of the “five demands” — a list of freedoms that pro-democracy protesters have been fighting for since last year.

REUTERS/Tyrone SiuA pro-democracy demonstrator raises his hands up as a symbol of the ‘Five demands, not one less’ during a protest against Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong, China May 28, 2020.

Source: Business Insider


Police stood guard throughout the streets, and less than an hour into the protests they began firing tear gas to disperse crowds.

Ivan Abreu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesA group of media professionals behind a cloud of teargas during demonstrations against the draft bill.

Sources: CNN, Business Insider


A new string of protests broke out on Wednesday.

Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty ImagesHong Kong protesters rally against China’s national security law at Mongkok district on May 27, 2020 in Hong Kong, China.

Source: The Guardian


On social media, protest organisers told people to “be water” by moving throughout the city as much as possible in order to make a statement, according to The Guardian.

REUTERS/Tyrone SiuAnti-government demonstrators scuffle with riot police during a lunch time protest as a second reading of a controversial national anthem law takes place in Hong Kong, China May 27, 2020.

Source: The Guardian


But police quickly stepped in to dissipate the crowds.

Tommy Walker/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesPolice rush towards a group of protesters whilst firing pepper balls during lunchtime street demonstrations in Central, Hong Kong’s financial hub, Hong Kong, 27th May, 2020.

Source: The Guardian


Holding up warning flags, the police blocked off roads, and threatened to arrest protesters.

Tommy Walker/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesPolice raise the blue flag in warning to gathering protesters during lunchtime street demonstrations in Central, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, May 27th, 2020

On social media, protesters criticised the police presence by calling Hong Kong a “police state.”

REUTERS/Tyrone SiuRiot police raise a warning flag as they disperse anti-government demonstrators at Central District against the second reading of a controversial national anthem law in Hong Kong, China May 27, 2020.

Source: The Guardian


Dressed in full riot gear, police stopped and searched younger people, while detaining large groups of protesters.

REUTERS/Tyrone SiuAnti-government demonstrators scuffle with riot police during a lunch time protest as a second reading of a controversial national anthem law takes place in Hong Kong, China May 27, 2020.

Source: The Guardian


Some cases of fire led to heavier action by the police.

ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP via Getty ImagesPolice stand guard on a road to deter pro-democracy protesters from blocking roads in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on May 27, 2020

Source: The Guardian


Police began using pepper spray and rubber bullets against protesters.

REUTERS/Tyrone SiuA riot police officer fires his weapon during a protest in Central, as a second reading of a controversial national anthem law takes place in Hong Kong, China May 27, 2020.

Source: The Guardian


Here, people are seen covering their faces to protect themselves from the pepper spray.

REUTERS/Tyrone SiuPeople take cover as riot police use pepper spray projectile during a protest at Central District, as a second reading of a controversial national anthem law takes place in Hong Kong, China May 27, 2020.

At least 360 people were arrested throughout the day on Wednesday.

REUTERS/Tyrone SiuRiot police officers detain a demonstrator during a protest against the second reading of a controversial national anthem law in Hong Kong, China May 27, 2020.

Source: The Guardian


Police lined up and detained those who were arrested. These videos show how the police attempted to break up the protests.

REUTERS/Tyrone SiuAnti-government demonstrators sit as they were detained by riot police during a lunch time protest as a second reading of a controversial national anthem law takes place in Hong Kong, China May 27, 2020.

Source: The Guardian

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