Several thousand people – many in suits and wearing masks – took to the streets in Central during lunch hour on Friday in response to widespread media reports that the government is set to invoke emergency powers under a colonial-era law to immediately implement a ban on wearing masks during unauthorised protests.

The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, is set to meet the media at 3pm alongside her entire senior governing team.

They walked towards Sheung Wan, disrupting traffic along the way, while chanting protest slogans such as “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” and thrusting their open palms out to signify their determination for the government to accept all five of the movement’s core demands.

One social worker, holding a box of masks to give out to anybody who wants one, told RTHK she doesn’t think the government will do anything to resolve the political crisis just by banning masks. She added that it’s her right to wear a mask.

Another marcher, who said he works in the consulting industry, said he came out to march during his lunch hour to voice his concerns over the potential anti-mask law.

He thinks the government will just add fuel to the fire by going forward with such a controversial move.

The government has been under increasing pressure from pro-Beijing figures to invoke the Emergency Regulations Ordinance – last used during the 1967 riots – as a way to immediately introduce a law to ban face masks during unauthorised assemblies.

Proponents say such similar laws have been implemented in other countries such as Australia, Canada, France and Germany, and assert that it will be effective in helping law enforcement authorities to regain control over the increasingly-violent protests.