Hong Kong city authorities have canceled this year’s annual National Day firework display in Victoria Harbour amid security concerns related to the ongoing extradition bill protests.
The cancellation of the Oct. 1 event was announced in a brief statement published this afternoon on the city website, citing the “latest situation” and concerns over public safety.
This year’s National Day marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and had been an ongoing source of speculation from some who wondered if the Beijing government might employ stricter measures against the ongoing protests ahead of the event.
Those concerns were laid to rest earlier this month when Reuters obtained audio of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam saying the government was prepared to simply ride out the protests — now in their fourth month — and had set no such deadline.
While Lam formally withdrew the bill at the beginning of this month, demonstrators have indeed continued to take to the streets, urging authorities to implement all five of their key demands, which include an independent inquiry into police violence against protesters.
While the most high-profile to date, the National Day firework display is not the only event to recently be canceled or postponed amid the protests. Last week, it was announced that the Hong Kong Tennis Open and performances of Matilda the Musical will be postponed because of the protests.
The last time a major Victoria Harbour fireworks show was canceled was in February 2018, when authorities decided to cancel the annual Lunar New Year fireworks display out of respect for the 19 people who died in a bus crash in Tai Po.