The Civil Human Rights Front has decided to cancel an anti-extradition law march set for Saturday after their bid to overturn a police ban failed.

On Thursday, Hong Kong police banned both a static rally and a march organised by the pro-democracy coalition citing public order concerns.

Jimmy Sham
Jimmy Sham. Photo: RTHK Screenshot.

The Front filed an appeal on Friday. Senior counsel Hectar Pun, representing the coalition, had suggested that the march could adopt an alternative route with five starting and ending points. He said that organisers may agree to further conditions, but the ban was upheld by the Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions on Friday morning.

Jimmy Sham, the convener of the Front, said it had no option but to cancel the march on Saturday since its principle was to hold physically and legally safe protests.

august 18 CHRF china extradition
Photo: May James/HKFP.

“We would like to sincerely apologise to the public – we have tried our best,” he said.

The event was themed around reiterating the five core demands of anti-extradition law protesters on the fifth anniversary of Beijing’s decision to impose restrictive measures on Hong Kong elections. Sham said the Front will continue to apply for further protests under the same theme.

August 31 march
A poster for the August 31 march. Photo: Civil Human Rights Front.

Sham said that, by banning peaceful protests, it will make the situation even worse: “The opinion of Hong Kong people cannot be displayed to the whole world,” he said.

Sham was attacked on Thursday by two masked men wielding a baseball bat and knife in Jordan, but not injured. However, a friend of his was injured after trying to protect Sham.

“I cannot tell if more outrageous incidents will occur in Hong Kong,” he said. “It is not the Front who is suffering. It is all of the Hong Kong people who are suffering.”

Since June, large-scale peaceful protests have morphed into – sometimes violent – displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachmentdemocracy, alleged police brutality, surveillance and other community grievances. Demonstrators are demanding a complete withdrawal of the bill, a fully independent probe into police behaviour, amnesty for those arrested, universal suffrage and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.” 

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.