Hong Kong Television Network supporters have vowed they will continue to demand a reason why the station's broadcasting licence application was rejected, even if a motion to invoke the Legislative Council's special powers to investigate is rejected today.
A crowd of 30,000 to 50,000 people is expected to rally outside the Legislative Council complex in Admiralty to show their support, the station's chairman, Ricky Wong Wai-kay, said yesterday.
The station's staff union representative, Crystal Lee Ka-sin, said the union would erect big screens at the Legco building and government headquarters so people who joined the rally could follow the debate.
"Even if the motion is voted down, we already have plans on what to do. But we will only announce them when it comes to that stage," Lee said.
She said that the union planned to shift its protest from government headquarters, where supporters have rallied until now, and move it to "different districts of the city". She declined to give details of their planned action.
Lee said the union had collected tens of thousands of signatures from supporters in the last few weeks and these would be displayed on a large black cloth.
The union has invited several academics to share their thoughts on the controversy during the live broadcast of the debate outside the Legco building.
Lee also said that the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau's explanation for its decision released yesterday was "nothing new".
"The government just used new phrases to give us the same old information," she said.
Ches Yim Ka-yee, one of 320 staff members fired by the station last month, said she had heard that many supporters would stay outside Legco overnight regardless of the result of the motion.
Separately, pan-democrats said the six-page statement released by the government was an attempt by the administration to pave the way for Beijing loyalists to veto the motion.
"The pro-establishment lawmakers now have a so-called reason to vote down the motion … Those are the political tactics used by Leung Chun-ying," said pan-democrat lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen of the education sector.
"But what we are demanding is the whole truth, not a selected part of it."
Under Legco's rules of procedure, a motion cannot be tabled twice within a session. Labour Party leader Lee Cheuk-yan said the pan-democrats should find another way to demand the truth if their motion is defeated today.
Meanwhile, Leung's former close ally Lew Mon-hung appeared at Tamar yesterday to show his support to HKTV staff.
"The government owes the public the truth," he said.