More than 70 per cent of citizens would support legislation to prevent demonstrators from wearing masks, according to a poll conducted by the pro-Beijing DAB party.
Their survey of 731 people showed that the majority agree that demonstrators wearing masks are more likely to take radical or violent action compared to those not wearing masks, Ming Pao reported. 49 per cent support banning masks from all demonstrations, while 23 per cent think a ban should only apply to those who are participating in illegal assemblies.
“If no one recognises him [the protester], he would have less reservations, so would take more radical actions,” DAB lawmaker Elizabeth Quat told Ming Pao.
Quat proposed introducing a mask ban last week during an anti-rioting petition event following the Mong Kok unrest on February 8. The clashes broke out over the clearing of street hawkers causing multiple injuries. Quat was supported by Jeffrey Lam Kin-Fung, an executive council and pro-establishment Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong lawmaker.
She has been criticised by former New Territories East lawmaker and ex-Civic Party member Ronny Tong Ka-wah, who said that banning protesters from wearing masks would infringe upon their freedom of assembly and further divide society.
“I have some reservations, because unlike other countries, HongKongers have always been proud of their peaceful protests and violent incidents are rare,” said Tong during a DBC radio show on Monday.
Another pro-establishment group Defend Hong Kong Campaign found that 56 per cent of people supported the ban, while 47 per cent would support the implementation of the controversial Article 23 security law. The poll surveyed around 2,000 people with results published in pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao and state mouthpiece Global Times.