In pictures: The face masks Hong Kong wants to ban

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Image source, Getty Images

For months, Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters have taken to the streets, their identities concealed behind masks.

But on Friday - in the face of increasingly violent clashes between hard-line protesters and police - the Chinese territory's government enacted a ban on face masks with the help of a colonial-era law which hadn't been used in decades.

The ban came into effect at midnight Hong Kong time (16:00 GMT) - potentially changing the face of the protests.

Because these masks weren't just a way for the movement to hide their identities from police, employers and parents, but also a layer of protection against the tear gas fired into the demonstrating crowds.

But protesters were not going down without a fight: legal challenges have been launched, with thousands of masked activists taking to the city's streets to voice their anger.

Image source, EPA
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Protesters wasted no time demanding the ban was revoked, demonstrating against it before it was officially announced
Image source, Reuters
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Thousands of people donned masks during their lunch breaks, before many returned to their offices
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But they rejoined the protests after chief executive Carrie Lam announced the ban would come into effect at midnight
Image source, Reuters
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Some people have taken to wearing gas masks in recent weeks, due to the tear gas
Image source, AFP
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There was mounting anger at Ms Lam, who critics accuse of being a puppet of the Beijing government
Image source, AFP
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The comedic tone of some masks belied the anger felt. Opposition figures warned it could be the first of more "draconian" steps
Image source, AFP
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As night fell, the anger appeared to intensify, with buildings and train stations vandalised
Image source, Reuters
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Beijing has welcomed the ban, saying it is neccesary to bring the protests to an end
Image source, AFP
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However, few know how the police will actually enforce the rule should Hong Kong's protesters choose to ignore it

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