Date
21 January 2017
A message posted online (inset) by Hong Kong Indigenous, one of the groups protesting against the government's copyrights amendment bill. Photos: Facebook, Ming Pao
A message posted online (inset) by Hong Kong Indigenous, one of the groups protesting against the government's copyrights amendment bill. Photos: Facebook, Ming Pao

Security beefed up at LegCo amid protests over copyrights bill

Security has been beefed up around the Legislative Council complex as several groups plan to stage protests Wednesday against the controversial Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014.

Police put up additional barricades around the LegCo building as they brace for demonstrations against the proposed Internet-related legislation.

Lawmakers will meet today to resume a debate on the Second Reading of the bill which critics have described as a threat to freedom of expression online.

Authorities don’t want to take any chances given their experience with the 2014 Occupy protests.

During the pro-democracy protests, a group of people charged the LegCo building and caused damage to glass doors, windows and some other infrastructure.

The violent incidents in November last year came after rumors circulated online that lawmakers would discuss legislation to criminalize some online activities.

While some lawmakers have said they will vote down the bill in Wednesday’s meeting, that hasn’t allayed the concerns of some activist groups, which have decided to take more aggressive action to voice their opposition to the bill, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Hong Kong Indigenous, which was formed earlier this year with a mission to oppose mainland China’s interference in Hong Kong affairs, called on supporters to dress in black and join protests outside the LegCo complex.

Wong Toi-yeung, spokesperson of the group, said they will not instigate protesters to throw objects at the complex and lawmakers or to storm the LegCo building.

However, he added that the group will map out its actions based on the actual situation on the ground and the protesters’ reactions.

A spokesman from the Copyrights and Derivative Works Alliance, which is also opposing the copyrights amendment bill, said 5,000 people are expected to participate in the demonstration.

The Legislative Council Secretariat said it will keep a close eye on the situation and ask the police to take action if necessary. 

Meanwhile, lawmaker Regina Ip, who is the chairperson of the pro-Beijing New People’s Party, said she is not worried about her personal safety.

The party’s stance against three amendments of the bill proposed by the pan-democratic camp remains unchanged, she said.

The amendments were deemed unnecessary by the party, Ip said, adding that her camp will support the version proposed by the government.

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TL/AC/RC

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