Dozens of civil groups are to hold a march on New Year’s Day, calling for the implementation of the universal pension scheme, and an end to “white elephant” infrastructure projects, on which the government has spent a lot of public money. Thousands are expected to join the demonstration.
In previous years, the January 1st march was normally organised by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF). However, next year’s march has been called by 34 civil groups. The major pan-democrat parties are also not participating.
The march will start at East Point Road in Causeway Bay at 3pm, and finish at the Central Government Offices in Admiralty.
At a press conference on Sunday, many groups urged lawmakers to join the filibuster to stop the additional funding for the high speed rail project, Apple Daily reported.
Raphael Wong Ho-ming, a spokesperson for the march and League of Social Democrats’ member, said that pan-democrat camp lawmakers have joined filibusters recently over some “big issues”, and they will do so again in support of the universal pension scheme and against “white elephant” projects.
“We Hong Kong people are not an ATM for Leung Chun-ying,” Wong said. “He asked us for money, we have to give it to him; but when we ask for money for our elderly people, children and the disabled, Leung Chun-ying said there’s no money.”
Wong added that while many groups are also CHRF members, some groups did not think there was a need for a march, and they respected their decision; this did not mean the pro-democracy camp was divided.
Retired teacher James Hon Lin-shan, another spokesperson for the march, said that the groups expect the police to issue a no objection letter allowing them to hold a demonstration with 3,000 participants. He said that if attendance exceeds that number, they may start earlier.
Besides the high speed rail link, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is usually considered to be another expensive and controversial infrastructure project, the schedule and budget for which have been delayed and increased multiple times.