Asia

Hong Kong protesters rally against planned coronavirus quarantine centres

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HONG KONG: Hundreds of demonstrators rallied for a second day in Hong Kong on Sunday (Feb 16) to protest against plans to turn some buildings into coronavirus quarantine centres, reviving anti-government protests in the Chinese-ruled city.

The virus has opened a new front for protesters after months of demonstrations over the perceived erosion of freedoms had largely fizzled out over the past month, as people stayed at home amid fears of a community outbreak of the virus.

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About 100 people braved the rain in the New Territories district of Fo Tan, where authorities plan to use a newly built residential development that was subsidised by the government as a quarantine centre. Riot police stood by.

READ: China COVID-19 toll leaps past 1,600 as new cases slow

READ: Hong Kong doctor battles fear and separation on virus 'dirty team'

A 38-year-old mother of two said she had waited eight years for her home in the Chun Yeung estate and was expecting to get her keys by the end of this month.

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"There's no consultation and we don't know how long they'll use Chun Yeung estate. That's why we are so mad," said the woman.

Father-of-two Koby, 36, also expressed frustration at not being told for how long the public housing might be used for quarantine.

"I've waited eight years. I have two children studying in kindergarten and have already transferred them to the school in Fo Tan," he said.

READ: Hong Kong suspends schools for longer to counter spread of coronavirus

Protesters gathered in other districts on Sunday.

With Hong Kong property prices among the most expensive in the world, owning a home is a distant dream for many, and frustration over housing has triggered protests in the past.

Many Hong Kong people, already angry about what they see as meddling by Beijing in the former British colony's affairs – which it denies – have criticised the government's handling of the virus scare, piling pressure on embattled city leader Carrie Lam.

On Friday, the government sought to appease families that have been allocated a flat in the Fo Tan estate by pledging a special subsidy.

Three weeks ago, proteRead More – Source