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  1. ITV Report

Hong Kong protesters banned from wearing masks in government clamp-down

Hong Kong's leader has banned activists from wearing masks which conceal their faces, as protests continue to rumble on in the troubled region.

Chief executive Carrie Lam used an Emergency Ordinance legislation, which has not been used in Hong Kong since 1967, allowing her to bypass the city's legislature.

The move comes after increasing violence on the streets, which saw a protester shot in the chest on Tuesday.

Protests which have been ongoing in Hong Kong for four months show no sign of ending, and the government said it is trying to "stop the violence" with the latest clampdown.

Ms Lam said: "As the current situation has given rise to a state of serious public danger, the chief executive in council decided at a special meeting this morning to invoke the power under the emergency regulation ordinance and make a new regulation in the name of prohibition of face covering regulation, which is essentially an anti-mask law."

She added: "We believe that the new law will create a deterrent effect against masked violent protesters and rioters and will assist the police in its law enforcement."

Face masks are popular among protesters in Hong Kong, but people also wear them for health reasons too. Credit: AP

The ban has come into force with immediate effect but has already angered thousands of masked protesters who chanted slogans calling for greater democracy in the city.

As they marched towards the city's business district, activists chanted ""I want to wear face masks" and "wearing a mask is not a crime".

Cars stuck in traffic due to the march honked in support of the protesters.

There were violent scenes in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Credit: AP

One protester, who gave his surname as Lui, said: "Will they arrest 100,000 people on the street? The government is trying to intimidate us but at this moment, I don't think the people will be scared."

Analysts have warned the use of an Emergency Ordinance could backfire and sets a dangerous precedent in the country.

The law, a relic of British rule enacted in 1922 to quell a seamen strike and last used to crush riots in 1967, gives broad powers to the cityΓÇÖs chief executive to implement regulations in an emergency.

the ban comes after widespread violence in the city on Tuesday which marred China's National Day celebrations, celebrating 70 years of Communist rule on the mainland.

The 18-year-old student who was shot was the first victim of gunfire since protests began over a controversial and now-shelved extradition bill.

More than 1,750 people have been arrested since protests began in June.