Chan Kin-man, a co-founder of the Occupy Central group, said on Thursday that people could stage a “wildcat march” and a sit-in at Hong Kong’s financial district if they are denied permission to hold a pro-democracy rally from Victoria Park on Oct. 1, China’s national day, Ming Pao Daily reported.
The warning came after Civil Human Rights Front convenor Johnson Yeung received an oral message from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) Thursday that holiday celebration events will be held at Victoria Park on Oct. 1 and therefore the group’s application to carry out a march from the park cannot be accepted, the report said.
The LCSD said the decision was made to prevent marchers and holiday celebration event participants from coming across each other, and also because the park’s lawns do not have the capacity to accommodate the 50,000 marchers that the organizers envisage.
Civil Human Rights Front questioned the decision to reject its application, pointing out that in the past there had been at least three instances when marches were allowed to be launched at the park even as other events were being held there.
As Occupy Central had hinted that its sit-in would follow the Oct. 1 march, Chan wondered if the government was trying to suppress political protests. The group will wait for the Civil Human Rights Front to hold further discussions with the LCSD before deciding on its course of action, he said.
Countering accusation that it adopted double standards, LCSD director Michelle Li Mei-sheung said it treats each case separately, and that consideration regarding available space and the number of participants is necessary on case-by-case basis.
Meanwhile, a series of student gatherings, following planned class boycotts next week, in Tamar Park, which is next to the government headquarters in Admiralty, is still pending approval by the LCSD.
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