Date
23 August 2017
A pro-democracy protester takes a quick repast while manning a barricade in Mong Kok on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters
A pro-democracy protester takes a quick repast while manning a barricade in Mong Kok on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

HKBA: Civil disobedience can’t be used as Occupy defense

The Hong Kong Bar Association said long-term and massive street occupation cannot be justified by civil disobedience, which, based on court rulings, is a philosophical rather than a legal principle, am730 newspaper reported Thursday.

In a statement, the HKBA said street occupiers should respect other people’s rights and freedom and should not cause damage and inconvenience to other people in society, adding that their action is likely against the law.

The barristers’ group said demonstrators could be prosecuted and they could not use civil disobedience as a defense, no matter how noble their intentions are.

However, police and prosecutors should show understanding and exercise restraint when enforcing the law, the statement said. 

The HKBA said in the same statement that it is dangerous and inimical for the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) to say after their preparatory meetings for dialogues with government officials on Tuesday that any discussion of constitutional or legal principles is a form of “trickery” or insistence on “trivial technicalities”.

Such comments by the students would denigrate the “rule of law” principle which is part of what they are fighting for, the statement said.

In response, HKFS spokeswoman Yvonne Leung said the federation respects the law and agrees that universal suffrage should be conducted under the framework of the Basic Law, adding the government is the one that disrespects the law.

Meanwhile, Occupy activists who have read the HKBA statement said they are prepared to be arrested and would defend themselves in court even though they are sentenced in the end, Commercial Radio reported.

Some of the protesters said things that could not be achieved by law must be achieved in other ways, according to the report.

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TL/AC/CG

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