French ban 'proof of HK freedom'

Local | Staff reporter 10 Jan 2019

France has banned protesters from wearing masks, but the same rule doesn't apply in Hong Kong, which is an indication of the freedoms enjoyed here, former chief executive Leung Chun-ying said.

Leung's claim came after French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced the ban in the wake of eight weeks of demonstrations in Paris.

The law will also prohibit troublemakers from joining demonstrations, similar to football hooligans being banned from entering sport stadiums.

Philippe said a penalty will be slapped on those who fail to follow the necessary requirements to declare protests.

Writing on his Facebook page, Leung wrote: "France is the country where people attach the highest importance to freedom. Even after the Mong Kok riot [in 2016], Hong Kong doesn't ban protesters from wearing masks.

"But the opposition continues to have doubts that freedom has been suppressed in Hong Kong under one country, two systems. Do they have proof?"

Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Aron Kwok Wai-keung chimed in by saying that people have little reason to shield their faces if they protest peacefully and don't engage in any illegal activities.

"Shielding the face is the first step to planning to break the law," he wrote on Leung's Facebook page.

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