On Friday, October 4, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced protesters were banned from wearing face masks, as she tried to deter violent protests that have been going on for four months.
Hong Kong isn’t the only place to have banned masks at demonstrations. It’s happened in the United States in response to tenant farmers back in 1845, and in the 20th Century in response to the Klu Klux Klan in the US.
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On Friday, Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam announced an immediate city-wide ban on protesters wearing face masks.
She said it had to be done, because most of the protesters vandalizing the city were doing it with their faces covered. The ability to hide their identity meant protesters could evade the law and act more daring, she said.
Protesters wear the masks because they fear reprisal from China’s ever-ubiquitous surveillance of dissidents, aided by the government’s widespread use of facial recognition technology.
The ban was passed under an emergency law from the colonial era. It’s the first time it’s been used since 1967, and it was originally passed to stop a seamen’s strike in 1922.
Banning masked protesters has also happened in the US, Europe, and Russia in the last two centuries.
Here are some of the places where masks or face coverings are banned in public.
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In America, anti-mask laws have existed for more than 150 years. In New York, in 1845, a law was passed that made it illegal for a gathering of two or more people in public to wear a mask or cover their face to disguise their identity.
The law was a response to tenant farmers who were anonymously attacking the police after wheat prices rose. New York police used the law again in 2011 to arrest Occupy Wall Street protesters.
However, it’s not a blanket ban. In 1999, the Klu Klux Klan managed to get a district court to revoke a ban on wearing masks for a demonstration in Manhattan, before the federal appeals court reapplied the ban.
The law does let people wear masks for events like Halloween, though.
Laws banning masks were also passed in direct response to the Klu Klux Klan. In Alabama, it’s been illegal since 1949 to wear a mask in public, except for celebrations like Mardi Gras or Halloween.
Source: The New York Times
Until 1979, California had sweeping anti-mask laws. That changed when Iranian-Americans sued the state after the Iranian revolution. They argued the law put them in danger because they couldn’t hide their identities while protesting against the new Iran leaders. They won, and the law was struck down.
California still has a restriction though. After the case, it enacted a law that made it illegal to wear a mask while committing a …read more
Source:: Business Insider