• Tue
  • Jul 29, 2014
  • Updated: 11:20am
July 1 march
NewsHong Kong

Police rule out extra lane for July 1 marchers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 June, 2014, 3:41am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 June, 2014, 3:41am

Police will not open an extra eastbound lane for protesters on Hennessy Road during this year's July 1 march, despite an appeal committee pressing for the decision to be left open.

Senior superintendent Tan Wing-yuen said yesterday there would be no additional lane for marchers, a day after the Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions rejected an application by protest organisers to open the lane, but told police to make the call on the day.

"Opening another lane will affect police and fire department plans," Tan said. "I can tell everyone here that police will not open an extra eastbound lane."

He said sealing off the eastbound side of Causeway Road and Hennessy Road - which alternate between two and three lanes - would inconvenience commuters travelling between Admiralty and Causeway Bay.

But Icarus Wong Ho-yin, vice-convenor of march organiser the Civil Human Rights Front, said the force was totally disregarding the appeal board's guidance. "They were urged to act according to the situation on the day. But now, even before the rally, they are already saying that they won't," Wong said.

He added that it would not make sense for police to allow vehicles to use part of the road as normal because it would be unsafe for protesters. Allowing traffic to flow along the route would also mean there would be no route set aside for emergency vehicles to pass, Wong said.

The organiser had applied for all six lanes along the route to be closed off for marchers, including a lane for emergency vehicles. But police indicated in a "letter of no objection" to the march they would seal off only three westbound lanes and give marchers partial use of the tram line.

Wong said organisers expected an increase in the number of marchers this year because of the groundswell of concern about issues such as plans for new in the northeastern New Territories, electoral reform and Beijing's controversial white paper on the city's affairs.

Asked if plain-clothes officers would be circulating among marchers on Tuesday, Tan said: "I cannot give further details."

He added that Independent Police Complaints Council representatives would attend the march, which will start at either 3pm or when marchers fill 85 per cent of the six football pitches at Victoria Park - the starting point.



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This article is now closed to comments

John Adams
Time to march again !
The decision to not open the six lanes is 100% political. The three-lane solution makes the crowd appear smaller than it is and it discourages participation because it causes overcrowding and slows the march to a crawl.
Ten years ago it took 20 minutes to clear Victoria Park when multiple exits and six lanes for marching were used. Now it takes hours to squeeze through a single gate. Do they really think we're that stupid? Cynicism rules.
The crowd control measures taken by the police in recent years have been hopelessly inadequate. The police have been lucky that the marchers have been so well-behaved and that there have been no catastrophic stampedes. It is an accident just waiting to happen. The police are risking the public's health and safety by not managing the march in a sensible and practical manner.
Indeed, it would be far better to take the march town the westbound lanes of Gloucester Road, but is not done so for the same political reasons.
sudo rm -f cy
I don't mind the wait. It's worth seeing how long we can make the march last. Imagine the reverberations if the march manages to last until July 2.


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