20 February 2019
Protesters camp outside the Legco building during the Occupy movement. Photo: HKEJ
Protesters camp outside the Legco building during the Occupy movement. Photo: HKEJ

Legco to impose 3 new restrictions as it reopens protest zone

The Legislative Council Commission said it will impose three temporary restrictions to prevent the protest zone next to the Legco building from being occupied again after it is reopened, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.

The zone, at the heart of the blockade in Admiralty during the 79-day Occupy protests, which ended in early December, has been closed for cleaning and is due to be reopened Wednesday.

First, the zone, along with the square in front of the building, will be open only between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Second, the number of protesters will be capped at 850.

Third, use of tents, sleeping bags and equipment for starting a fire is prohibited.

The restrictions are being imposed before Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying presents his policy address and then attends Legco for a question-and-answer session next week.

Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said the new restrictions are aimed at ensuring safety and reasonable use of Legco facilities.

As many tents set up by the Occupy protesters remain on Tim Mei Avenue, close to the zone, Tsang said, some lawmakers have expressed their concerns about safety and will write to Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to ask for proper action to be taken.

The restrictions are provisional and the commission will discuss at its regular meeting on Tuesday next week whether to make them permanent, Tsang said.

Civic Party legislator Chan Ka-lok criticized the new restrictions as “chopping off the toes to avoid the sand worms”, meaning they are unnecessarily drastic.

Citizens should have the freedom to express their opinions, and Legco ought not to launch discriminatory measures aimed at some protesters, Chan said.

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