A newly installed metal fence outside the legislature has raised concerns amongst netizens that it is not accessible for disabled people.

The metal fence was approved by legislators at the end of last year after demonstrators attempted to break into the building by smashing the building’s glass door. The protesters thought the lawmakers would be discussing an internet bill regulating online copyright, also widely referred to as “internet Article 23”. Critics argued that the implementation of the bill would have implications on freedom of expression.

Disabled accessibility blind, wheelchair
Netizens have raised concerns that LegCo’s newly reinforced fence is non-accessible for people with disabilities. Photo: Steve Lo.

The fence was completed earlier this year. However, at the the beginning of March, LegCo announced that there would be more security enhancements to the complex, including steel shutters and more gates

A Facebook post by Steve Lo attracted 104 ‘likes’ and raised concerns from netizens about accessibility. Those who commented on the post raised concerns that the fence was built over a section of tactile paving, which are bumps or marks on the surface used to warn blind people of any obstacles or danger ahead.

One of the commenters said covering the tactile paving showed “bureaucratic ignorance and no respect for people with disabilities”. Another questioned the need for the fence in the first place and asked “why is the government scared of facing the public?”

In an email to HKFP, a spokesperson from the legislative council said the metal fence was a temporary measure.

“The Legislative Council Secretariat will deploy staff members to station at the gate of the “metal fence” to provide assistance for those in need.”

The move to introduce the steel fences in the first place was supported by pro-establishment members but widely criticised by those in the pan-democrat camp who felt the measures would separate legislators from the public.

Vicky is a British-born Chinese journalist with three years of experience covering UK politics. She previously worked for PoliticsHome and has interned at Sky News and CNN International. She also co-produced and filmed a documentary about the Hong Kong protests for MSNBC, which won the grand student prize at the 2015 Human Rights Press Awards. She has a BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Reading and moved to Hong Kong in 2014 to complete a journalism masters at the University of Hong Kong.