Hong Kong protesters don cartoon masks to defy face mask ban

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters are donning cartoon character masks as they form a human chain across the semiautonomous Chinese city, in defiance of a government ban on face coverings.

Gathering along the city's subway lines on Friday night, protest supporters masqueraded as Winnie the Pooh and Guy Fawkes.

The protesters were taking a lighthearted approach to oppose the government's decision to invoke colonial-era emergency regulations banning face masks at rallies as it struggles to contain the chaotic protest movement.

Hong Kong's leader has said the ban on masks, which have become a hallmark of the protests, is aimed at deterring radical behavior.

But the protesters say they wear them out of fear of retribution and concern that their identities will be shared with China's massive state security apparatus.