Hong Kong police have placed restrictions on a demonstration this Sunday which was set to held in Sheung Wan in protest of police behaviour.

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Photo: May James.

March organisers applied to hold two rallies on Sunday – one at Chater Garden in Central and another at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park in Sheung Wan. Protesters were set to march between the two points, but police only approved the rally at the Central starting point. It comes days after police banned Saturday’s anti-triad violence protest.

In a letter to one of the organisers, activist Ventus Lau, the force said that Sunday’s march – billed as an event for “west Hong Kong Island” – was banned for reasons of public safety, public order, and the protection of others’ rights and freedoms.

‘Serious conflicts’

In their letter, the police said that Lau was responsible for organising a series of rallies and marches since June – most of which escalated into violent conflicts: “Based on the serious conflicts that happen after recent rallies or marches, as well as the recent social climate, the police have reason to believe that the actions taken by participants may not be under your control,” they wrote.

“The police also have reason to believe you do not have the ability to ensure the personal safety of participants or other members of the public, even if the police were to impose conditions on the rally or march.”

For the approved rally at Chater Garden, police told Lau that the event must end no later than 11pm.

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Ventus Lau. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Lau must provide at least 30 marshalls to maintain order, and if there were attendees on the day that could not enter the Garden due to congestion, Lau must ask them to leave.

Anyone seeking to organise a public procession in Hong Kong must apply for a police letter of no objection. It is rare that protests are banned outright, though restrictions have been placed on demonstrations twice this week.

Additional reporting: Kris Cheng.

Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.