Protest brings vote decision to a head

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am
 

More than 1,000 protesters took to the streets yesterday in a final attempt to head off a legal amendment that could scrap by-elections for Legislative Council vacancies.

As a two-month public consultation on the proposal ended yesterday, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung, said the government would not rule out revising its proposals for new procedures to fill Legco vacancies.

The protesters, including pan-democrat supporters, marched from Causeway Bay to the government offices in Admiralty, chanting slogans and calling on Lam to step down and to withdraw the proposals; these include giving the seat of a departing lawmaker to one of his or her running mates in the previous poll or prohibiting a lawmaker who resigns from contesting the seat in the resulting by-election.

The government proposed scrapping by-elections after five pan-democratic lawmakers resigned last year to trigger by-elections they hoped would be a de facto referendum on democracy. The government says the manoeuvre was an abuse of the electoral system and a waste of public money.

The administration tried to rush the bill through Legco but, after the annual July 1 rally drew the biggest turnout since 2004 - 200,000 by one estimate - it bowed to public pressure to hold a consultation.

Lam said he had attended 13 forums during the consultation period. They included a public forum held at the Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui on September 1 which was gatecrashed by masked protesters.

Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung said yesterday the force's investigation of the gatecrashing incident was continuing.

A masked protester on yesterday's march said he had participated in the gatecrashing of the Science Museum, but had not been approached by police so far.

Share

Send to a friend

To forward this article using your default email client (e.g. Outlook), click here.

Enter multiple addresses separated by commas(,)

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.