Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists on Sunday failed to secure the temporary suspension of a new ban on face masks at demonstrations.
The legal challenge before Hong Kong’s High court was the second attempt after an initial bid failed on Friday night just hours after leader Carrie Lam announced the ban.
Lam invoked a colonial-era ordinance that gives the city’s chief executive emergency powers to impose the new regulation, which impacts demonstrations of 50 or more people and processions of 30 or more.
Lam said the ban was necessary to restore public order as anti-government demonstrations, nearing their four-month mark, have seen increasing acts of violence and vandalism.
The ordinance has not been widely used since Hong Kong’s deadly 1967 riots which saw China’s Cultural Revolution seep over the border into what was then a British colony.
According to report by dpa, the mask ban will need to be approved, however, by the legislative council which resumes session on Oct. 16.
Barrister Gladys Li, a co-founder of the pro-democracy Civic Party, argued that Lam had acted unconstitutionally and overreached her executive power by invoking the emergency ordinance.
While the complainants failed to have the mask ban suspended, they did win a judicial review, which will resume in late October.
The case occurred as protesters were already gathering on the streets of Hong Kong Island, where an unsanctioned demonstration had been called.
A second demonstration was also called for the Kowloon peninsula on the mainland side of Hong Kong.