Updated 1 July 2019
Tens of thousands of protesters turned out for the annual July 1 march on its 22nd anniversary. The event overshadowed the pro-Beijing group who authorities said had moved inside due to “inclement weather”. The route for the march was supposed to end at the Legislative Complex, but had to be readjusted due to protesters in that area getting aggressive.
Protesters at the Legislative Council (LegCo) Building – reported as being a younger crowd – broke through the glass front of the LegCo Building by about 9 pm, entered the building and defaced signs and portraits, graffitied walls. Unfurling a banner roughly reading “there are no rioters, only a tyranny”; in reference to 12 June protests being characterized as riots by authorities allowing them to charge arrested protesters with rioting which carries a 10 year sentence.
There are some reports that police held back as protesters breached the LegCo Building and that it may have been a deliberate move. Police later warning that the LegCo Building had been taken in a “violent attack” and that they would be sweeping the building and using “reasonable force”.
Police arrived at about midnight and most protesters had left the area. Tear gas was still fired at protesters to clear the surrounding streets.
Protesters are still calling for the full removal of the extradition bill and Carrie Lam’s resignation. The issue with Lam’s resignation now is that if she were to resign another chief executive would need to be chosen within 6 months. The election committee is currently stacked heavily in Beijing’s favor and would surely reignite a heated political debate. Beijing would prefer to avoid that at this point in time and if Lam stays that potential situation can be pushed off until 2022.
Likelihood of escalations in actions during future protests and demonstrations from both protesters and law enforcement
Disrupted modes of transportation
Increased presence of law enforcement personnel
Increases in traffic, especially near protest sites
Roads blocked by protestors with little to no notice
Protests which have the possibility of turning violent, especially after dark
Mitigating Factors to Apply:
Avoid all protests, demonstrations, and large crowds, which have the possibility of turning violent
Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
If you are caught in a blockade:
Do not exit your vehicle
Call the authorities: Emergency Services (police, fire, and medical): 999, U.S. Consulate General at +(825) 2523-9011
Allow extra time for travel
Monitor local and social media for updates
Enroll in the Safe Traveler program (STEP) to receive warnings from the U.S. Embassy
DISCLAIMER and Hold Harmless
Disclaimer: LSDS gathers information from multiple sources and offers insight and perspective to travelers. Sources cannot be validated for accuracy in every instance. Travelers assume all risk associated with their travel and are responsible for the decisions associated with travel and for their own safety. Users of this reference document agree, to hold harmless LSDS (LLC) its employees and clients associated with any risk or injury incurred during travel.