Admiralty’s Civic Square will be reopened – with conditions – this Thursday, after it was closed to the public following mass protests in 2014.
The square, officially called the East Wing Forecourt of the Central Government Offices, was a popular site for demonstrations. In August, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was sentenced to six months in jail for participating in a clash at the site which sparked the 2014 Umbrella Movement. He was released on bail pending an appeal.
Before the announcement, Wong told Commercial Radio on Tuesday that the government’s plan to reopen the area was just a political show: “If only civil servants with permits can enter the square after the so-called reopening, what’s the meaning of it?”
The square will resume its function providing vehicular access to the government offices, and as a passageway between the government and neighbouring legislative buildings for visitors and staff. It will also be open for general access from 6am – 11pm daily. Outside these hours, only members of the legislature and individuals with staff or media permits will be allowed access.
In a statement, the government said members of the public can file applications to hold public meetings or procession at the square on Sundays and public holidays. However, no activities will be allowed on other dates.
The government added that the public can – at any time – hold public meetings or submit petition letters on a section of the pavement at Tim Mei Avenue outside the square.
The Civil Human Rights Front previously applied for a notice of no-objection from the police to hold a public meeting at the square on January 1, 2018 after its annual new year march. They have yet to receive a reply.
Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated the opening times for Civic Square. It will be open 6am – 11pm daily to the public.