The Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions on Saturday upheld the police force’s ban on the annual June 4 candlelight vigil at Victoria Park, citing risks of Covid-19 infection.
The board said the number of coronavirus cases has not come under control in nearby regions, while the vaccination rollout in Hong Kong has been slow.
It said the organiser, The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, failed to come up with practical anti-infection measures.
A planned demonstration on Sunday to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown has also been banned.
Members of the alliance said they were disappointed, accusing the authorities of using the pandemic as an excuse to stop people from commemorating the June 4 crackdown.
The alliance’s secretary, Richard Tsoi, said in view of the risks of violating the law, its members would not attend the vigil the and would stop promoting the event.
“We sadly announce that the Hong Kong Alliance no longer has the legal capacity to continue to organise this year’s June 4 candlelight vigil at Victoria Park. We hope Hong Kong people will understand our situation,” he said.
“The Hong Kong Alliance and its members and our volunteers will not use that capacity to participate on the June 4 evening to attend any activity in Victoria Park. We do so with the basic intent to preserve our strength, hoping to get everybody safe.”
He appealed to Hong Kong people to mourn the victims who died during the crackdown in their own way.
Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent for Operations on Hong Kong Island, Liauw Ka-kei, said he welcomed the board’s ruling.
He appealed to people not to take part in and promote the banned gatherings.
“Police considered that the public meeting and procession are high risk activities with crowd gatherings,” he said.
“Police have reasonable grounds to believe that the activities not only increase the risk of infecting Covid-19 by participants and other people but also pose serious threats to the lives and health of all citizens, jeopardizing public safety and affecting rights of others.”