Hong Kong Politics & Protest

July 1 democracy rally organisers urge gov’t to reopen Civic Square forecourt as march end point

The police have agreed to the route of the annual July 1 pro-democracy rally, organisers the Civil Human Rights Front have said after a meeting at the North Point police station on Monday. Although the two parties have yet to agree on the destination of the protest, the Civil Front said that police agreed Civic Square forecourt attached to government headquarters carried the “least risk,” when compared to locations such as Harcourt Road and Tim Wa Avenue.

All three locations were significant sites during the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy movement.

The organisers also said that the police told them the government’s Administration Wing needed to approve the use of Admiralty’s Civic Square since it is under the wing’s management.

jimmy sham civil human rights front convenor

Jimmy Sham. Photo: Youtube screencap.

“Today there was a significant change in the attitude of the police. The last time we met the police, they refused to talk with us about the Administrative Wing’s arrangements regarding the use of the Civic Square… We think that this is an improvement but we regret and condemn the fact that the Administrative Wing has still not spoken with the police about the risks of using the space,” said Sham.

He added that the Administrative Wing refused accept a police invitation to meet. 

Policemen surround the students protesting at Civic Square

Policemen surround students protesting at Civic Square. File photo: Wikicommons.

“We hereby make an open invitation. We invite the Administrative Wing to meet with the Civil Human Rights Front within a week to discuss the situation regarding the use of Civic Square,” he said.

2014 July 1st Rally

2014 July 1st Rally. Photo: Alan Yeh via Flickr.

Sham cited the police as saying that the Administrative Wing is considering opening Civic Square and he hopes that they will meet with the Civil Human Rights Front.

The government does not officially recognise the name Civic Square. The Chief Secretary of Administration said on March 17 that “the forecourt is neither a public place nor a designated public open space. It is incorrect to describe the forecourt as “the civic square.”

The annual July 1st rally began in 2003 and is one of the largest protests in Hong Kong. It is also an opportunity for citizens to voice their demands on progressive causes.

July 1 democracy rally organisers urge gov't to reopen Civic Square forecourt as march end point