Police at the site of a march in Hong Kong on March 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Louise Delmotte)

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police on Sunday blocked activists from joining an anticipated protest that was called off at the last minute by organizers, a pro-democracy group said.

The League of Social Democrats said police questioned four of its members on Friday and warned them not to take part in the march planned by the Hong Kong Workers’ Association.

“The League of Social Democrats is extremely upset to have been threatened and prevented by National Security Police from joining a lawful protest. But he decided to opt out in the face of such pressure,” the band said.

Responding to The Associated Press via email, police said when they acted, they did so “based on the actual situation and in accordance with the law”.

The planned march was to be the first major demonstration in three years approved by police and the first since restrictions imposed by COVID-19, such as the requirement to wear a mask, were lifted.

During the pandemic, due to restrictions, there were very few protests. Additionally, many activists have been silenced or imprisoned since the Chinese government imposed a sweeping national security law following mass protests in 2019.

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