Hong Kong’s largest protest organiser is set to lead a New Year’s Day pro-democracy march on Wednesday to insist on the five core demands of the pro-democracy movement.
The event, organised by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), received a letter of no objection from the police. Crowds are expected to gather at the Central Lawn of Victoria Park in Causeway Bay at around 2pm, before proceeding to the pedestrian area of Chater Road in Central.
“Don’t forget our promise, we walk shoulder to shoulder. Five demands, not one less!” the group wrote in an announcement.
CHRF convenor Jimmy Sham said the event will also draw attention to political reprisals against those who support the movement, such as those in the education sector, and will also demand a halt to police pay rises.
Wednesday’s march will also feature “over 40 newly established unions,” the CHRF added, and urged participants to join unions in their line of work to “boost the organisational strength of the resistance.”
Superintendent Tsang Fan-hon called on the public to march in a peaceful and orderly manner, adding that the event could be cancelled if it becomes dangerous. Officers will close the westbound traffic lanes for the march and conduct crowd management, he added.
Wire mesh fencing has been spotted at some footbridges in Wan Chai and Admiralty along the march route, which may have been installed to prevent objects from being thrown or dropped over the side.
Scattered clashes broke out in shopping malls over Christmas, and the subsequent police reaction has continued to fuel public discontent.
On Monday, CHRF vice convenor Figo Chan said that police sent him a poster which called for “citywide renovation” – a popular euphemism for vandalism – and demanded that Chan clarify his group’s intentions.
The protest organisers may be guilty of “incitement” if they failed to distance themselves, police allegedly told Chan.
In response, Chan said that the poster was a counterfeit and questioned where the police had found it, since he did not see it being circulated on Telegram or LIHKG.
“The CHRF must clearly state that the content of the altered poster is contrary to our intentions for the march. It is outrageous that the police have threatened us, who are the ‘victims’ in this incident,” the group wrote in a statement.
Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen said on Monday that he “welcomed” the decision by the CHRF to distance themselves from violence, and called on the protest organisers not to make excuses for violent behaviour.
Kwok’s statement provoked a further response from the protest organisers, who said that they believed in “distancing themselves from the violence of the police.”
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