The organisers of the Hong Kong Pride Parade have announced plans to move the annual rally online if they do not receive a Letter of No Objection from the Hong Kong Police this week. Organisers have been waiting for nine months since their application was submitted in March.

The event, scheduled to be held on Saturday, is now set to be live-streamed after the police failed to make a decision on the application for the public gathering. HKFP is a media sponsor.

Gay pride parade
Photo: Hong Kong Pride.

Wai Wai Yeo, the secretariat of the organising committee, told HKFP that police told them to wait after their initial application in March. They reached out multiple times to the force since then, but only met with the authorities last week.

“There are other events that will be [held] in the coming months like concerts, and schools are resuming their classes already – we think that it is legitimate for the police to ask the organiser to do some prevention procedures,” said Yeo. “Such as [having] to keep distance among groups and [wearing a] facemask, but it is not a legitimate reason to ban all the public gathering due to the pandemic.”

lgbt gay Pride Parade 2019.
File photo: Hong Kong Pride Parade 2019.

Last year’s Hong Kong Pride Parade was held only as a static assembly, as the police banned the march over safety concerns. Yeo added that they expected the event will be banned again this year, saying that attitude of the police towards public gatherings in general has changed since 2018.

Currently, public gatherings of over four people have been banned over Covid-19 concerns.

No application for a Letter of No Objection for rallies has been approved since the enactment of social distancing rules in April.

HKFP has contacted the police for comment.

Update 11.11: Organisers confirmed on Wednesday that police have objected to the event and it will therefore go online.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.