Hong Kong will ban the wearing of face masks at public protests

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HONG KONG: Hong Kong will soon ban the wearing of face masks at public protests, local media reported Thursday, in a clampdown on pro-democracy rallies that have rocked the strife-torn city.Seething public anger against Chinese rule of the semi-autonomous city has underscored increasingly violent confrontations between police officers and demonstrators, with no sign of an end to nearly four months of unrest.

Protesters have used face masks to avoid identification — along with yellow helmets, goggles and respirators to protect themselves from tear gas and police projectiles.The unrest, which began over opposition to a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial, shows no sign of letting up.

Demonstrators, angry over the shooting of an 18-year-old this week by police, clashed with police into the early hours of Thursday.Demonstrators threw petrol bombs and police responded with tear gas.Police have also urged the government to impose curfews to help curb the escalating violence in the Chinese-ruled city, where officers have become a target of protesters amid accusations of excessive force.

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