As virus infections dwindle, Hong Kong protests gain steam

HONG KONG (AP) — Demonstrators chanted pro-democracy slogans in a luxury mall in Hong Kong yesterday, the latest in a string of small but determined protests as the city’s coronavirus outbreak slows.

More than 100 protesters gathered at lunchtime in the Landmark Atrium mall in Central, a prestigious business and retail district, despite social distancing rules that prohibit public gatherings of more than four. They sang a protest anthem, and held up signs.

“The protests had calmed down previously because of the coronavirus, but now we must step up and let the world know that we have not given up,” said Mich Chan, who works in the legal industry. “We’re still fighting for what we fought for last year.”

Holding up a sign calling for the movement’s five demands to be met, Chan said she was not worried about possible transmission of the virus during the protests because the people of Hong Kong are “disciplined and know how to protect themselves” by wearing masks.

Police entered the mall about half an hour after the protest began, urging people to leave and warning those assembled that they were violating social distancing rules and participating in an unlawful assembly. The police detained several protesters but later let them go, with no arrests made.