HONG KONG ANNOUNCE FACE MASK BAN




Selin ATAY-TDO-Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam has used a colonial-era emergency law to ban on wearing face masks at public gatherings to try to quell months of anti-government unrest. Ms Lam said the decision was taken because the situation could not be allowed "to get worse and worse".

Officials plan to use emergency legislation dating from the colonial era to invoke the measure, aimed at quelling anti-government protests. The legislation, called the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, dates to 1922 has not been used for over 50 years.The laws would grant Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, the authority to "make any regulations whatsoever which he [or she] may consider desirable in the public interest" in case of "emergency or public danger".

Saying that "violence had been escalating to alarming levels" leading to a situation of "chaos and panic" in the cityMs. Lam stressed the new regulation did not mean that Hong Kong was in a state of emergency. But she emphasized that the city was "in a state of serious public danger".

According to the government, the percentage of student demonstrators has risen from 25% to 38%. Face masks are often worn by protesters to help prevent them from being identified and arrested by authorities. Ms. Lam said the mask ban would help prevent students breaking the law.

Hong Kong's protests sparked by proposals to extradite suspected criminals to mainland China. Opponents of the proposed extradition law thought it would put Hong Kongers at risk of unfair trials and then Carrie Lam said the law "was dead". Despite this, demonstrations have widened into pro-democracy and anti-police demonstrations, and protesters called for it to be withdrawn completely. The bill was finally withdrawn in September. But, over the months, clashes between police and protesters had already created their own momentum and become increasingly violent. On Tuesday, police shot a protester in the chest with a live bullet for the first time.