Date
26 September 2017
Public areas around Legco are subject to further restrictions in the aftermath of the recent street protests. Photo: CNSA
Public areas around Legco are subject to further restrictions in the aftermath of the recent street protests. Photo: CNSA

Legco curbs public access to protest zone

Tighter restrictions were thrown around the Legislative Council building on the same day a public zone was opened after the recent street protests.

On Tuesday, legislators voted to curb access to a public square and areas around it and prohibit the use of tents, sleeping bags and fire-hazard equipment.

Also, loudspeakers are banned when the chamber is in session, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.

Public areas outside the building, including the public square, will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The measures, proposed by the Legco Secretariat, were approved over the objections of pan-democracts who said such restrictions are unnecessary.

Emily Lau, chairwoman of the Democratic Party, said the restrictions might send the wrong signal that citizens are not welcome.

Activist Ng Man-yuen, vice-chairman of the League of Social Democrats, called them absurd and said people will ignore these rules if they find them inappropriate and if these infringe their right to free speech.

Meanwhile, Civic Party legislator Chan Ka-lok said tightening security around Legco without consultations might lead to future measures being ignored by the public.

Legco President Jasper Tsang said the opening hours of public areas are flexible, depending on Legco sessions.

Closing time is 11 p.m. or one hour after a session, whichever is later, he said.

The Legco public section was opened Wednesday in time for the policy address of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

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TL/AC/RA

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