Police on Friday rejected a planned National Day march on Hong Kong Island, citing coronavirus and security threats.
The Civil Human Rights Front had wanted to hold Hong Kong’s first legal rally in months, from Causeway Bay to Central on the afternoon of October 1, to urge the central authorities to return 12 Hongkongers being held in Shenzhen. They were detained last month while reportedly trying to flee the SAR for Taiwan by boat.
However, the police said in a letter to the group that the ban on public gatherings of any more than four people would still be in force on that date.
The force added that holding a rally would attract large crowds that would not only increase the risk of infection, it would also constitute a “grave threat” to public health and endanger public safety.
It said the planned route of the march is very close to various ‘high-risk’ structures that could come under attack, such as MTR stations, police headquarters and the High Court.
Police say they conducted a risk assessment, which concluded that there’s reason to believe that some of the participants in the march – were it to go ahead – would veer off the approved route and attack vulnerable structures. This, they say, would be a severe threat to the safety of people in the area.
The march organisers also failed to convince officers that their planned arrangements to try to maintain order during the rally would be effective at all, the letter says.
The front has said it had anticipated that the police would reject their application, but will file an appeal.
It has also said people would likely find different ways to protest even if the police ban their march.
Police ban planned National Day march
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