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HK rail stations still shut amid more planned protests

Visitors look at Hyundai Rotem-made trains for the Hong Kong subway

Hong Kong, Oct 6 (UITV/IANS)- Despite the partial resumption of Hong Kong's train services, dozens of stations remained shut on Sunday ahead of another wave of planned protests later in the day against the government's anti-mask law.

The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Corporation has partially resumed services across 45 of its 94 stations while the rail operator continued to repair the widespread damage caused by rioting protesters, which led to the closure of the entire network on Saturday, reports the South China Morning Post.

However, all train services would end at 9 p.m. on Sunday to allow time for the works, with nearly 50 stations still shut "due to serious damage", the Corporation said.

The operator said the decision to partially reopen the railway, the city's primary mode of transport, was made after carrying out risk assessments with police and government departments.

It added that stations could close anytime during the day without warning.

As well as the MTR's first full day of service suspension in its 40-year history, several major malls and grocery chains were also closed on Saturday.

Some shops reopened on Sunday, but there were still widespread closures.

Protests were due to be held in Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday afternoon.

The latest wave of violence was triggered by the Hong Kong government's decision to impose a ban on people wearing masks at public assemblies, a colonial-era emergency legislation that has not been used in more than half a century.

The controversial restriction bars anyone from wearing "facial coverings" during demonstrations, regardless of the assembly's legal status, that are "likely to prevent identification".

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam imposed the ban in the hope it would quell several months of anti-government protests, which were sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill and have descended into regular outbreaks of violence.