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The Latest: Lam to speak amid reports of Hong Kong mask ban

The Latest on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has scheduled a news conference Friday afternoon amid reports she will ban masks in a bid to quash four months of anti-government demonstrations.

The government announced the news conference will be held at 3 p.m.

Local media reported Carrie Lam will bypass the legislature to deploy emergency powers in a hardening of her government’s stance to the territory’s most disruptive crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

1:20 p.m.

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters marched in the city center ahead of reported plans by the city’s embattled leader to deploy emergency powers to ban people from wearing masks in a bid to quash four months of anti-government demonstrations.

Local media reported Carrie Lam will bypass the legislature to announce the mask ban later Friday, in a hardening of her government’s stance to the territory’s most disruptive crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

Lam’s office declined to comment when contacted.

Thousands of people, all wearing masks, chanted slogans calling for greater democracy as they marched Friday in the city’s business district. One protester, who gave his surname as Lui, said the people will not be intimidated by the government’s scare tactic.