Tamar Park rally restricted

THE Federation of Students (香港專上學生聯會) said its plans to hold a rally at Tamar (添馬) during the class boycott were being stymied by the government.

Students from 26 higher education institutions were planning a one-week boycott from Monday to protest against Beijing’s (北京) restrictions on political reform for the 2017 chief executive election.

In conjunction with the boycott, federation secretary-general Alex Chow Yong-kang (周永康) has applied for a permit to hold a rally at Tamar Park and the Legislative Council (立法會) covered car park from Tuesday to Friday.

During those four days, about 70 scholars would hold lectures on the grassy areas of Tamar Park, the waterfront near the park and the car park from 10am to 6pm.

At nightfall, there would be talks, forums and assemblies until midnight. Chow said the activities were meant to provide outlets for citizens to join in and discuss the future of Hong Kong.

But the organiser said it was restricted by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (康樂及文化事務署) to use just the ground, not the slope, with the temporary stages and speakers having to be approved by structural engineers. The rally should last only up to three days and be held before 11pm, according to the Noise Control Ordinance (噪音管制條例).

Insurance cover of HK$10 million has to be taken out for potential injuries.

Chow said if this is the first time such restrictions have been made, they amount to political persecution.

A department spokesman said permit approval factors included the nature of the activity, participant numbers and public safety.

Meanwhile, the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF, 民間人權陣線) has applied for a police permit to hold a rally on National Day (國慶日) while asking the public to “be prepared”, amplifying speculation that Occupy Central (佔領中環) will begin on 1 October.

Convener Johnson Yeung Ching-yin (楊政賢) also said the public should “pay attention to any announcement by Occupy Central’s initiators”.

The application is pending a police reply.

The CHRF said about 50,000 people are expected to join the planned rally, which is scheduled to start at 2pm at Victoria Park (維多利亞公園) and end at Chater Road (遮打道) before midnight.

(The Standard, Kenneth Lau, 19 September, 2014)