Hong Kong protesters devise face-covering hairstyle to get around mask ban

‘I put it on to tell the government that I’m not afraid of tyranny,’ defiant demonstrator says

Samuel Osborne
Sunday 06 October 2019 17:53 BST
'Hair tutorial' video emerges for the latest protest hairstyle in Hong Kong

Protesters in Hong Kong have devised a new face-covering hairstyle to evade the new ban on masks.

A tutorial video showing viewers how to plait their hair to achieve the anonymising hairstyle was shared on Twitter by journalist Cherie Chan.

It came as tens of thousands of masked protesters poured onto Hong Kong’s streets on Sunday as they furiously yelled: “Wearing a mask is not a crime.”

Instead of deterring riots and calming anti-government demonstrations, which have gripped the international trading hub for four months, the ban criminalising the wearing of face masks at rallies appeared to have reignited the determination of the marchers.

Police fired tear gas and charged the crowd with batons, while some protesters threw bricks and petrol bombs at the police and others trashed subway stations and China-linked banks in the city.

Protesters concealed their faces in defiance of colonial-era emergency laws invoked by the authorities on Friday, which banned face masks.

Police made their first arrests under the new rules, detaining scores of people.

Protesters face a maximum of one year in jail for breaking the mask ban.

Officers tied their wrists with cable and unmasked their faces before placing them on buses.

Some protesters lay in foetal positions on the ground, their wrists tied behind their backs, after being subdued with pepper spray and batons.

“The anti-mask law just fuels our anger and more will people come on to the street,” Lee, a university student wearing a blue mask, told Reuters on Sunday, as he marched on Hong Kong island.

“We are not afraid of the new law, we will continue fighting. We will fight for righteousness. I put on the mask to tell the government that I’m not afraid of tyranny.”

Carrie Lam announces anti-face mask law for Hong Kong protesters

For the first time in the crisis, men on the roof of one of the Chinese military’s barracks in Hong Kong raised a yellow banner warning protesters they could be arrested for targeting its barracks walls with laser pointers.

The People’s Liberation Army has remained in barracks since the protests started, leaving Hong Kong’s police force to deal with the massive protests.

Critics fear Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam‘s use of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance that gives her broad powers to implement any measures she deems necessary could pave the way for more draconian moves.

The law was enacted by British colonial rulers in 1922 to quell a seamen’s strike and was last used in 1967 to crush riots.

Man shot in chest as police fire live rounds at Hong Kong protesters

The shooting of a 14-year-old boy Friday night, the second protest victim of police gunfire, stoked fears of more bloody confrontations.

An 18-year-old protester was shot at close range by a riot officer on Tuesday. He was charged with rioting and assaulting police, while the younger teen was arrested.

Additional reporting by agencies

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