Hong Kong's embattled chief executive, Carrie Lam, says she is invoking emergency powers to ban face masks during public assemblies starting at midnight Friday (12 p.m. ET).
The ban on face masks is an attempt to quell increasingly violent anti-government protests that have racked the city for more than 17 weeks.
"One thing is certain. If lawbreakers are not wearing masks, it is much easier for us to prove the charges and bring them to courts," said Hong Kong's security secretary, John Lee Ka-chiu, at a last-minute news conference held to announce the ban in Hong Kong.