Hong Kong protesters defy mask ban as city grinds to halt

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Protesters occupy a road as they attend a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. - Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on June 12 as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. (Photo by DALE DE LA REY / AFP)

Masked pro-democracy protesters marched through Hong Kong in defiance of a ban on face coverings as much of the city ground to a halt on Saturday, with the subway suspended and many shops shuttered following another night of violence.Thousands of protesters staged unsanctioned marches and flashmob protests at multiple locations, a day after the city’s leader outlawed face coverings at protests, invoking colonial-era emergency powers not used for half a century.

The latest acts of resistance came after a night of widespread chaos as hardcore protesters trashed dozens of subway stations, vandalised shops, set fires and blocked roads.As the crowds began marching, city leader Carrie Lam released a stony-faced video statement in which she condemned protesters for “a very dark night”.