• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 5:16am
July 1 march
NewsHong Kong
SOCIETY

Half a million people could take part in Hong Kong's July 1 march, organisers say

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 June, 2014, 5:41am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 4:54pm
 

Organisers of the July 1 march hope recent controversies will push turnout above the 500,000 of 2003, when the first large-scale handover day march was held.

The Civil Human Rights Front said it had told police it expected more than 150,000 people in Tuesday's march, up from 50,000 when it first applied for police permission. The front has increased the number of stewards in the crowd from 150 to 200.

It called on protesters to stay calm and avoid clashes.

The march starts at 3pm at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and ends at the pedestrian area in Chater Road, Central.

Last year, organisers said 430,000 people marched, although police said 66,000 took part at its peak. An academic at the University of Hong Kong, Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai, counted numbers along the route in Wan Chai and concluded that about 103,000 people marched.

Civil Human Rights Front convenor Johnson Yeung Ching-yin said recent controversies could make a difference this year. They included the Legislative Council's debates on controversial plans to build two new towns in the northeastern New Territories, and Beijing's white paper asserting control over Hong Kong.

"We expect a lot of people in the protest, and we hope there would be more than 500,000 as in 2003," he said, referring to the huge protest that derailed national security legislation.

Beijing outlined its "comprehensive jurisdiction" over the city in its white paper, which stated that judges were administrators and as such had a "basic political requirement" to love the country. It suggested judges had a responsibility to "correctly understand and implement the Basic Law".

Yeung urged police to close all six lanes outside Victoria Park so the protest flow would be smoother, but police have only promised to close three lanes and the tram lane. "In the past, there have been clashes because they refused to close more lanes for the protesters," he said.

Groups such as the Federation of Students earlier said they might take the initiative and start the Occupy Central civil-disobedience protest after the march.

Yeung said the front would provide back-up, such as legal advice, to the groups but it would not take such action itself.

The march, with a theme of universal suffrage, will be led by villagers who will lose their homes to the development plan in the northeastern New Territories, students and transsexuals.

Meanwhile veteran Beijing loyalist Elsie Leung Oi-sie said it would be a "misunderstanding" to believe that asking judges to be patriotic would damage judicial independence.

Additional reporting by Emily Tsang

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This article is now closed to comments

mh0908
Please keep it a peaceful event. And please ask our scholars from Scholarism to go home after the event is officially over. Please ask them not to block Chater Road on 2 July. Please ask them to voice their opinion peacefully.
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May Peace Prevail on Earth!
537c548c-f230-4ac6-97c6-350c0a320969
HKers have no political sense.
HK is another typical example of how the US and UK use so-called democracy as a weapon to split up the people and the nation, like they have done to former USSR, Ukraine, Taiwan, and Iraq. The anti-China campaign cannot be more timely as China is fast growing into a global super power that US/UK consider her a major threat. Promoting violent western democracy is like promoting Candy Land in Pinocchio.
pmm
"Western democracy"...Let's talk about specifics.. What Hong Kong people are currently arguing for is one person - one vote, and the legal right to choose their own leader as is allowed under their constitution. By what perverted reasoning is this an unnatural and "poisonous" idea induced into the (presumably weak) minds of Hong Kong citizens by outside forces ? It is the natural yearning of any educated mature person within a productive community to choose their own leaders and take a greater responsibility in their community.
You apparently have no faith in the collective wisdom of our citizens, so you are afraid of this change. If Hong Kong is to survive for its own and the greater glory of China, then our society needs this.
chuchu59
Maybe you are right and we do not have any political sense nor guile. However, we do have passion and that counts for more than anything else.
cleareye
ChuChu59, are you serious? Passion for what, chaos, or just a flashing moment of recognition? All you see is the lantern, but not the fire.
lamlm38
well tomorrow is Public Holiday, got nothing else to do so might as well join the crowd :)
req
maybe they can bring their collection of blow up dolls, bump up the numbers.
hm03
Can the Federation of Students just hold off their Occupy Central **** and at least wait for the government to respond and see if they are going to listen to the public in their political reforms, just like what the Occupy Central organisators agreed to do?
Dao-Phooy
The number is always much higher than the official police figures. Always.
66,000 is the number of a large football match! I know people who have waited to move from Victoria Park for more than 2 hours - 3 football pitches of people waiting patiently to March and even more. HK stadium has a maximum capacity of 40,000 and police manage to clear the grounds efficiently within 30 mins - even at the 7s. If the official attendance on 1 July is as low as 66,000 then it shows how inefficient the police are at crowd control on this very important day.The police should stop making itself a laughing stock with these low numbers.
norodnik
If you Google "software counting people in crowds" you will see a host of companies listed with reliable references. I think the police as well as event organisers should state what methods they use for counting people in demonstrations. I agree with 321manu that a swing of 66K vs 430K just makes both parties look ridiculous.

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