'Radical' abode seekers stopped from staging anniversary march

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 12:00am

Police have barred 300 abode seekers from staging a march this afternoon on the grounds that they have taken radical action and caused public disorder during previous demonstrations.

Protest organisers, who are lodging an appeal, said it was the first time police had barred them from staging a march without any room for negotiation since Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee's car was besieged by scores of claimants in April.

About 300 abode seekers originally wanted to march from Chater Garden to the Central Government Offices today to mark the third anniversary of Beijing's reinterpretation of the Basic Law. In a letter sent to organisers, the police raised objection on the grounds of public safety and order.

It listed four occasions when abode seekers and their parents had breached laws, including lighting fires and camping at Chater Garden, where the failed claimants had been staying since the Court of Final Appeal handed down a ruling on January 10 ordering them to return to the mainland.

The letter also accused the abode seekers and parents of taking radical action, disrupting order and failing to follow police instructions near Chater Garden.

The accusation is believed to refer to the incident on April 24 when Mrs Ip's car was surrounded by scores of claimants outside the Legislative Council. Police cleared all abode seekers from Chater Garden the next day.

Jackie Hung Ling-yu, a project officer of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, lodged an appeal last night against the decision.

'It is unreasonable for the police to deny the right of all abode seekers and their parents to march and assembly in Central because of the behaviour of a small group of people,' Ms Hung's appeal letter said.

She added the police had already arrested some claimants and parents in connection with the incidents they had cited.