Battle lines set over Occupy Central

Organisers plan official network of supporters amid confusion about campaign and its backers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 February, 2014, 4:33am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 February, 2014, 4:33am

Occupy Central will set up an official network of its supporters after a group of radical protesters claiming to support the movement gatecrashed one of its events this week.

A group calling themselves "Supporters of Occupy Central" attempted to disrupt an event held jointly with the Democratic Party on Tuesday, at which party members took an oath promising to join the campaign to blockade Central in July if the government fails to deliver an acceptable method to elect the chief executive in 2017.

Their oath was greeted with waves of slogans from 30 protesters who accused them of betraying Hongkongers by not pledging to demand public nomination of candidates.

The protesters, some prominent members of People Power, a radical pro-democracy group, were condemned by moderate pan-democrats following the event, but some protesters hit back yesterday, saying their opposition to the Democratic Party was justified, and that they had no intention of damaging the civil disobedience movement.

Occupy Central co-organiser Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting said the movement would set up an official supporters' group to counter confusion among the public surrounding the campaign and its backers.

"We want to clear up any public doubt by setting up a supporters' group endorsed by the trio of Occupy Central," Tai said, referring to himself and co-campaigners Dr Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming.

Tai, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, warned the group of radicals not to interfere with future events.

"If they resort to such means, it would be difficult for us to count them in our camp," he said.

Tam Tak-chi, a member of People Power, said the protesters were not aiming their scorn at Occupy Central but at the Democratic Party. But Tai said he had been "saddened" by offensive remarks directed at Chu, whom some protesters called "Christ's con" during the event.

Tam said Chu should not have been chosen to lead the oath taken by Democrats. He said the oath had been "fake" because Democrats had not stood firm on demanding public nomination for the chief executive election.

"All they [Democrats] want is a chance to stand in the election via the small-circle nominating committee," Tam said.