Hong Kong’s High Court on Monday ruled that an emergency law banning protesters from wearing face masks, which have become synonymous with the protests rocking the city, is unconstitutional. The High Court said the stricture was “incompatible” with the Hong Kong constitution, adding: “The restrictions it imposes on fundamental rights... go further than is reasonably necessary... and therefore fail to meet the proportionality test.” The ruling could still be appealed to the city’s Court of Final Appeal, but it will fuel complaints from protesters that city authorities are acting unlawfully against them under pressure from Beijing. The ruling came amid a violent standoff at the campus of the Polytechnic University, where dozens of students set fire to the entrance and holed up inside the school as the territory’s police fired volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets. The South China Morning Post reports several students had been arrested at 5:30 a.m. as they tried to leave the campus. A group later attempted to leave but were met with fire from police and either managed to escape or retreated back into the buildings.
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