About 90 people were arrested during protests in Hong Kong against the government’s decision to postpone elections, police and a news report said.
he elections were due to have taken place on Sunday but on July 31 chief executive Carrie Lam postponed them for a year.
Ms Lam blamed an increase in coronavirus cases, but critics said her government feared the opposition would gain seats if voting went ahead on schedule.
Anti-government protests have been held in Hong Kong almost every weekend since June 2019. They erupted over opposition to a proposed extradition law and spread to include demands for greater democracy and criticism of Beijing’s efforts to tighten control over the former British colony.
On Sunday, one woman was arrested during a protest in the Kowloon district of Yau Ma Tei on charges of assault and spreading pro-independence slogans, the police department said on its Facebook page. It said such slogans are illegal under the newly enacted National Security Act.
The ruling Communist Party’s decision to impose the law in May prompted complaints that it was violating the autonomy promised to the territory when it was returned to China in 1997.
Washington has withdrawn trading privileges granted to Hong Kong and other governments have suspended extradition and other agreements on the grounds that the region of seven million people is no longer autonomous.
Also on Sunday, police fired pepper balls at protesters in Kowloon’s Mong Kok neighbourhood, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported.
Some 30 other people were arrested on suspicion of illegal assembly and two were detained for disorderly conduct, police said.
In the Jordan neighbourhood, protesters raised a banner criticising the election delay, the Post said. It put the number of arrests at 33.
“I want my right to vote!” activist Leung Kwok-hung, popularly known as Long Hair, was quoted as saying. The newspaper said Leung was later arrested.