Pro-independence groups are to rally on New Year Day, after authorities warned that people displaying banners advocating Hong Kong independence cannot be allowed entry into the area outside the government’s headquarters.
Tony Chung of Studentlocalism said on Sunday that Hong Kong National Front, Student Independence Union, and his group planned to host a pro-independence rally at the same time as the annual pro-democracy January 1 march, organised by the Civil Human Rights Front.
Both rallies will begin Tuesday 2pm at East Point Road, Causeway Bay. The pro-independence rally will end across from the police headquarters at Arsenal Street, Wan Chai, while the annual march will finish at government headquarters in Admiralty.
The announcement came after the Administrative Wing asked the Civil Human Rights Front to advise participants not to carry signs advocating Hong Kong independence outside the government’s headquarters, a protest hotspot known as “Civic Square.”
But the Front refused to yield to the government’s demand. It said in a statement last Friday: “Even though we disagree with Hong Kong independence, we do not think that the government can ever justify depriving anyone of their rights to freely express their political stance and participate in protests.”
“We strongly disagree with the Administrative Wing and refuse to abet the government in violating human rights.”
Chung said the pro-independence rally will be held in a peaceful manner and that at least 30 people have expressed interest in attending the march.
Jimmy Sham of the Front said he was aware of the pro-independence rally but did not know what the organisers will do after the rally begins. However, he said he believes “the organisers have the political wisdom to avoid the trap set by the Administrative Wing.”
Asked how his group will respond to protesters displaying pro-independence messages, Sham said it should be a question for the government instead.
During a pro-democracy protest organised by the Front on October 1, the Administrative Wing refused the entry of people displaying pro-independence banners into the protest zone outside government headquarters, the Front said.
The group said it is considering filing a legal challenge against the Administrative Wing’s decision on this issue.