Govt rejects Civic Square reopening

October 13, 2014 16:44
Student protesters are surrounded by police in Civic Square on Sept. 27. The government has rejected calls for the reopening of the square, citing security concerns. Photo: TIME

The Hong Kong government has ruled out reopening Civic Square after protesters suggested the idea in exchange for access to Harcourt Road in Admiralty, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.

In a statement, the government said such a move poses security risks and will affect its operations.

However, the east wing forecourt will continue to be accessible for public meetings and processions at specific hours, it said. 

The square, which has been closed since Sept. 26, is right outside government headquarters, near ground zero of the student protest movement.

It had been open to the public all day before July 18 but was restricted to between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. after a security upgrade in August.

The government said the protesters could move to large open areas such as Tamar Park, the Central waterfront promenade, Victoria Park or Macpherson Playground in Mong Kok.

It said it will help them relocate to these areas if needed.

Law Kwun-chung, acting president of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of the protest organizers, said they are disappointed with the government's  decision.

“We have made major concessions and we have shown our sincerity to negotiate," Law was quoted as saying by public broadcaster RTHK.

He said it's ridiculous to cite safety risks for not reopening Civic Square when it has always been used by citizens to express their views and hold gatherings.

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