Hong Kong police have approved a mass rally and march planned for Sunday by the Civil Human Rights Front, after a series of rejections for the pro-democracy group’s events.
Approval was granted on the condition that the front should observe police instructions on the route and start time, and that the force could order the march to be stopped if there is a threat to public order. Organisers would not be allowed to raise funds at the event.
The front’s convenor Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit said on Thursday that the arrangements had been worked out with police.
“They are not perfect but we accept them anyway. We are confident that the rally and march will be peaceful, so long as the police do not provoke participants,” said Sham, who will be a Sha Tin district councillor starting in January, having won a seat at the recent district council elections.
The front organised the march to mark Human Rights Day next Tuesday. Observed by the international community every year on December 10, it commemorates the date in 1948 when the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Sunday’s march was scheduled to set off from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay at 3pm, bound for Chater Road in Central. Participants would be allowed to rally in the park from as early as midday. The entire demonstration should be finished by 10pm, according to the police requirements.
Officers asked the front to ensure that the event is conducted in a lawful and orderly manner; participants should not threaten anyone, and no Hong Kong or national flags should be desecrated.
They also asked the front to report to the force if the number of participants was significantly bigger or smaller than the expected 32,000, and to arrange for at least 200 marshals to help maintain order.
The front has been behind some of the biggest protests since the political crisis began in June, sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, including one on June 16 which drew an estimated 2 million people.
Sunday’s rally and march will be the first organised by the front to receive police approval since August.
The plan to hold a rally and march in Victoria Park in mid-August was turned down by police, who approved a rally in the park only. The group’s other rally plans in October were also rejected.
Last Sunday, police approved three marches organised by other groups. The biggest, from Tsim Sha Tsui to Hung Hom, quickly degenerated into violence, with police firing tear gas at the marchers, who blocked roads.
Hong Kong has been gripped by six months of social unrest. The mass demonstrations have since morphed into a wider anti-government movement, fuelled by alleged police brutality, and the push for more democracy.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Hong Kong police defend use of tear gas during approved march, blaming violent radicals for deviating from approved route
- Numbers dwindle at lunchtime rallies in Hong Kong, but protesters vow to return in force for Sunday’s human rights march
This article Major Hong Kong anti-government rally and march get police permission first appeared on South China Morning Post