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    A protesters throws a molotov cocktail during a standoff with riot police at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China November 12, 2019

    Hong Kong High Court Rules Mask Ban Regulation Incompatible With Constitution

    © REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Hong Kong’s High Court ruled on Monday that the recently introduced regulation prohibiting residents from wearing face masks was incompatible with the Basic Law, the city’s de facto constitution.

    "The ERO, insofar as it empowers the CEIC [Chief Executive in Council] to make regulations on any occasion of public danger, is incompatible with the Basic Law, having regard in particular to Arts 2, 8, 17(2), 18, 48, 56, 62(5), 66 and 73(1) thereof. We leave open the question of the constitutionality of the ERO insofar as it relates to any occasion of emergency," High Court judges Anderson Chow and Godfrey Lam said in the verdict released on Monday.

    Amid an escalation in civil unrest and violence in the city, the government in Hong Kong introduced in early October a Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance (ERO), which banned residents from wearing face masks. The government argued that the ordinance was necessary to help the police identify perpetrators of violence during protests.

    The judges argued that the restrictions that the mask ban imposes on fundamental rights "also go further than is reasonably necessary for the furtherance of those objects [the government proposed to pursue under the new regulation]."

    The judges added that they would convene a subsequent hearing on the question of relief in regards to the regulation, meaning that the restrictions on face masks would remain in place until then.

    © REUTERS / Thomas Peter
    Столкновения протестующих с полицией в Гонконге

    The massive protests began in Hong Kong in early June over a controversial extradition bill, which was officially withdrawn in October. Beijing has repeatedly stated that the situation in Hong Kong is a result of foreign interference in China's domestic affairs and expressed full support for the actions of the local authorities.

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