OCCUPY CENTRAL
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Occupy Central

Occupy Central protesters might not 'paralyse' Central

Movement's core organiser says group will ask public what action it should take and might decide to 'cause inconvenience' not 'paralysis'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 July, 2013, 4:58am

The Occupy Central campaign plans an electronic vote in October to draw up a list of "democratic principles" against which to assess any reform proposals tabled by the government, according to core organiser Benny Tai Yiu-ting.

Tai also said the civil-disobedience movement might not set out to paralyse Central with its mass protest next year, but instead to "cause inconvenience" and "get arrested".

The campaign will not table a proposal but we are offering a platform that has a public mandate," Tai said. "It will be up to the people to decide which proposal is acceptable, and which is not
Benny Tai Yiu-tin

The movement said earlier it planned to muster 10,000 people to shut down the city's commercial heart next July if the government had not come up with democratic reform proposals that met international standards by that time.

In the meantime it is holding three "deliberation days" - the second one planned for October - to forge consensus on what to seek and what action to take.

Tai, an associate law professor at the University of Hong Kong, told the South China Morning Post he expected as many as 3,000 people to take part in the second deliberation day.

The first such day in June attracted 800 people at the university campus.

For the next one, instead of gathering at one place on one day, professional groups including social workers, lawyers and teachers together with some churches and university student unions have agreed to hold separate meetings of about 100 people from late September.

The electronic vote, designed by HKU's public opinion programme, would be used as a decision-making mechanism, first to set out democratic principles.

All electoral reform proposals should adhere to these principles, Tai said.

Another electronic vote would be held after the third deliberation day early next year to gauge the public's views on the proposals.

"The campaign will not table a proposal but we are offering a platform that has a public mandate," Tai said. "It will be up to the people to decide which proposal is acceptable, and which is not.

"The legislators can then make their judgment according to public opinion."

Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit said earlier the party's six votes would be cast according to the results of "a credible and measurable mechanism".

Tai said the campaign was seeking to highlight "a spirit of self-sacrifice" for democracy and it was not the group's goal to have Central completely jammed and paralysed.

"The civil disobedience action is a threat but it is also a matter of degree," he said.

"Its success does not only depend on the number of participants, but also the people who are sympathetic about our democratic pursuit. Our action is to break the law and prompt the government to take action."

Six months after he floated the controversial idea, Tai said the campaign had gained its own momentum.

"The more people know about the campaign, the more sympathy - and support - we receive," he said, noting that about 800 people had signed up so far, and about half of them had signalled they would join the mass protest.

"I may not say I am confident about this, but Hong Kong people are showing their anticipation," Tai said.