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Li Keqiang

Protest mocks police chief's 'black shadow' remark

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 September, 2011, 12:00am

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Hundreds of demonstrators took to the street yesterday to accuse the police of abusing their powers and call on Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung to step down.

The crowd, which closed all three lanes of Hennessy Road, demanded Tsang apologise for his controversial 'black shadow' explanation for why a police officer blocked a television camera during a visit last month by Vice-Premier Li Keqiang .

Tsang told lawmakers on Monday the police officer at the Lam Tin event felt a black shadow approaching and acted out of 'basic instinct'.

Instead, demonstrators dubbed Tsang a black shadow that loomed over Hong Kong.

'It's ridiculous to make up an excuse of blocking reporters with a so-called black shadow approaching,' said one masked demonstrator, who was clad in black. 'Tsang himself is a black shadow and killed freedom in Hong Kong.'

Organisers said 800 people joined the rally, but a police spokesman put the figure at about 500. A police spokesman said they would respect the protest as long as it remained safe and peaceful.

Three students who were held in a stairwell by police when the vice-premier visited the University of Hong Kong last month also took part in the rally. One of the detained students, Sam Wong Kai-hing, a fourth-year social work student at Polytechnic University, said human rights have deteriorated in Hong Kong since Tsang took his post in January.

Wong said it was the police who were the 'rioters'. 'We have to stand up against the 'rioters' who were protected by malicious laws,' he said.

The protesters marched from Causeway Bay to police headquarters in Wan Chai, where a sit-in was held. The protesters unfurled a 50 metre by 40 metre black cloth at the entrance of the police headquarters, to symbolise the black shadow of the police department.

Police warned that the protest was not approved and reserved the right to charge participants for unlawful assembly. Organisers argued they did not need approval because freedom of assembly was a human right.

At the beginning of the demonstration, there were heated exchanges between protesters and pedestrians who supported the police.

Meanwhile, Journalists Association chairwoman Mak Yin-ting said she had received 20 complaints from reporters about press arrangements during Li's visit, the most complaints received on a single incident.

She called for the media to boycott official press material from the Information Service Department. Li attended at least 22 events but the media were invited to only 10, raising concerns about press freedom.