MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government reminded Filipinos living in and traveling to Hong Kong to avoid areas of protests, which have crippled the harbor city and plunged it into crisis.
The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong along with the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment advised Filipinos to stay vigilant, and refrain from wearing black or white – colors associated with those involved in the protests.
Citing reports it received, the consulate said demonstrations are expected in the following areas:
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III urged overseas Filipino workers to stay indoors. In case of emergencies, the consulate said Filipinos can contact its hotline at (+852)91554023 for assistance.
Spurred by a deeply unpopular extradition bill, demonstrations in Hong Kong have broadened into wider demands for democratic reform. Protests have also grown increasingly violent with mass demonstrations paralyzing the city after embattled leader Carrie Lam recently imposed a controversial ban on face coverings.
Lam's decision last Friday, October 4, to invoke colonial-era emergency powers – not used for half a century – to impose the ban sparked some of the most violent scenes since the crisis began, as hardcore protesters trashed dozens of subway stations, vandalized shops with mainland China ties, built fires, and blocked roads.
The protests are now widely considered as the biggest challenge to China's rule since the city's handover from Britain in 1997. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com