Date
19 October 2017
Chan Ho-tin (inset) is urging people to take part in the rally openly -- without masks or anythng to hide their identities -- as long as they keep it peaceful.
Photos: Bloomberg, HKEJ
Chan Ho-tin (inset) is urging people to take part in the rally openly -- without masks or anythng to hide their identities -- as long as they keep it peaceful. Photos: Bloomberg, HKEJ

HKNP rally to show ‘real strength’ of pro-independence forces

Pro-independence supporters will hold a rally tonight to protest the disqualification of their allies from next month’s Legislative Council elections.

Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) is spearheading the mass action in Tamar Park in Admiralty, the epicenter of the 2014 democracy protests which would give rise to localist and pro-independence forces.

About 500 riot police will be deployed to maintain order, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports. 

The rally comes after HKNP convenor Chan Ho-tin was disqualified by the Electoral Affairs Commission from the Sept. 4 vote after refusing to confirm a declaration of allegiance to the Basic Law.

Chan called his disqualification unreasonable and accused the EAC of violating his rights, saying he had complied with the requirements.

The rally comes five months after a Lunar New Year’s Day protest by Mong Kok hawkers erupted in violence, resulting in dozens of arrests, mostly of localists and pro-independence supporters   

He urged Hong Kong people to take part openly in the protest — without masks or anything to hide their identities —  as long as they keep it peaceful.  

Chan said the rally will show the real strength of the pro-independence movement.

He said major announcements will be made but did not elaborate.

Among the high-profile figures expected to attend are Edward Leung, a spokesman for localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, whose candidacy was also rejected by the electoral body.

About 400 to 500 officers in riot gear will be fielded including those from the police tactical and emergency units, according to Apple Daily.

Legco President Jasper Tsang said the protesters are “shooting at the moon” if they are planning to upend “one country, two systems”.

Meanwhile, political commentator Johnny Lau said the National People’s Congress might be forced to reinterpret the law if Leung wins his appeal against his disqualification.

However, he said such a move by China’s legislature is unlikely because it other ways to keep pro-independence candidates from running in the elections.

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TL/AC/RA

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