An appeals board has unanimously overturned a police ban on a rally planned by the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) over the arrest and prosecution of RTHK producer Bao Choy.
However, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung will have to give the green light for Sunday's rally. If it goes ahead it will be the first approved protest for many months in Hong Kong.
The Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions on Friday ruled in favour of an appeal by the association after the police banned the rally.
According to the HKJA, participants will be limited to media professionals and journalism students and faculty at a tertiary level.
Turnout will be limited to 1,000. Those joining the rally will have to register, wear a mask and fill out a health declaration form. Photos will be taken to ensure that participants comply with social distancing measures, the association said.
The event is scheduled to take place on Hong Kong Island.
Cheung will now have the final say on the matter in accordance with the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance amid the coronavirus outbreak.
HKJA vice-chairman Ronson Chan told reporters he is hopeful of a positive response, saying he doesn't think the Chief Secretary would "evade his responsibility."
But he acknowledged that the association would have no further recourse if the Chief Secretary doesn't give the go-ahead.
"If we don’t get any reply from Matthew Cheung, we have no choice [but] to declare the procession dismissed," Chan said, "and we will persuade people [not to] gather at this site.”
He said last year’s events showed that gatherings that proceed without approval often results in legal liability for the groups that had applied unsuccessfully to stage the rally.
The government has banned various protests and rallies for months, including the annual June 4 Tiananmen massacre vigil in Victoria Park and the traditional July 1 rally organised by the Civic Human Rights Front, with the authorities citing the coronavirus pandemic for their refusal to allow such gatherings.
RTHK journalist Bao Choy was arrested on November 3 and charged with two counts of violating the Road Traffic Ordinance by allegedly making false statements when conducting vehicle registration searches. The searches were part of the public broadcaster's attempts to trace the perpetrators of the July 21 Yuen Long mob attack.
The HKJA described the police's action against Choy as "shocking" and said the authorities are “exhausting every possible means” to make life difficult for journalists in Hong Kong.
Last updated: 2020-11-13 HKT 20:50
Police ban on Bao Choy protest overturned
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