Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), which has organized the annual July 1 march since 2003, has been forced to look for a new assembly point after the government denied its request to continue to use the football pitch at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay.
The group had used the venue from 2004 until last year.
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) said the venue has been reserved by the Hong Kong Celebration Association for a science exhibition to be held from late June to early July as part of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.
The association enjoys priority in booking the venue because it is a charity, LCSD said.
CHRF said it is talks with LCSD regarding an alternative venue, also in Victoria Park, but no action has been taken.
Southern district councilor Au Nok-hin, the group’s convenor, criticized LCSD’s decision, saying it is politically motivated.
Au said he suspects the decision was made due to the upcoming visit of President Xi Jinping from June 29 to July 1.
He also demanded Chief Executive-elect Carrie lam, an honorary chairperson of the association, explain the matter.
Au said the decision restricts Hong Kong people’s freedom of speech and assembly.
Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said the move could spark more public anger and lead to clashes between marchers and the police.
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