Leader Carrie Lam hailed the territory’s “return to peace” after months of sometimes violent protests, as the Hong Kong government marked China’s National Day on Thursday, and riot police took to the streets to deter an expected march by pro-democracy protesters that authorities have already banned.
The People’s Republic of China marks its founding on October 1 with a holiday and choreographed festivities, but last year’s events were marred by fierce clashes between protesters and police in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous territory where China imposed sweeping national security legislation in June.
This year, police said five people were arrested on Wednesday for inciting participation in illegal assemblies online.
And while police refused a permit for a proposed march, riot police were on Thursday conducting stop-and-search operations along what was expected to be the route.
In the air, helicopters flying the Chinese and Hong Kong flags hovered above the harbour where Lam, the territory’s chief executive, and senior mainland officials, were attending an official National Day ceremony amid tight security.
“Over the past few months, an indisputable fact in front of everyone is that our society has returned to peace,” Lam said.