• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 10:50pm
July 1 march
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Organisers of July 1 democracy rally claim their arrests are 'political persecution'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 11:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 July, 2014, 4:17am

Five members of July 1 march organiser the Civil Human Rights Front arrested yesterday for leading the democracy rally at a snail's pace denounced the police action as "political persecution". They had earlier accused the police of causing a bottleneck by refusing to open more lanes for the marchers.

The arrests, on top of those of 511 protesters for staging a sit-in after the march, prompted questions about the need for such strict law enforcement.

Lawmaker James To Kun-sun called the police "foolish and laughable" for arresting peaceful marchers.

Last night, the five protesters were released on bail and will have to report back to police next month.

Front convenor Johnson Yeung Ching-yin voluntarily went to Wan Chai police station. He said: "Now the government is choosing to arrest people in a peaceful assembly like this, I can't think of any other reason besides political persecution."

Yeung said that as far as he could remember, police had not previously detained organisers of the annual march. Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said police had handled the arrests in a way consistent with their usual principles.

Yeung and fellow front members Daisy Chan Sin-ying, Sammy Shum, Kitty Hung Hiu-han and Ivy Chan Siu-ping - the last two both masters of ceremonies at the rally - were all arrested for "failing to comply with directions given by police officers" and obstructing the officers.

Shum, who drove a truck that led the procession, was also suspected of "vacating a motor vehicle without having stopped the engine", while Ivy Chan allegedly provided false and misleading information - a wrong street number of her address - to police.

Watch: Five organisers of July 1 pro-democracy march arrested

The two Chans were arrested in the morning, while the other three, having learned of the force's intentions, visited the police station voluntarily.

Police said in a statement the five caused the truck to move "at a very low speed".

They "disregarded repeated advice and warnings" and stopped the vehicle near the junction of Hennessy Road and Fenwick Street for about 25 minutes.

Then they used loudhailers to "incite" marchers to stop and block the road to force the opening of more lanes. "As there were tens of thousands of participants following the lead vehicle, stopping the vehicle suddenly or driving it at such low speeds posed serious potential threats to public safety and public order," the statement continued.

The front said that when the truck arrived in Wan Chai, hundreds of people joined the march and walked in front of the vehicle. It accused the police of causing the bottleneck.

The next day, police took 511 people into custody for staging the overnight sit-in in Chater Road, Central.

Lawmaker Kenneth Leung, who sits on the Independent Police Complaints Council, said: "In the past July 1 rallies, there were always times when the organisers stopped along the route to bargain with the police about opening more lanes.

"Is it really necessary for the police to enforce the law so strictly?"

 

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67

This article is now closed to comments

nmp_inc
Police barricades, police diversion tactics, and so many protesters on the parade route shoved into small spaces is what slowed the progress. Nobody to blame but the HK Police.
ntmount
What about praising the organisers instead for helping keep the rally peaceful?
53b68133-357c-4b1b-a051-08e10a3209ca
Those who say this is a political crackdown are jeering HK's judiciary system. It's the court that decided whether they are guilty, not the police.
Paradox314
I have defended police conduct thus far even though my sympathies lie with the protestors. But I am rapidly losing faith in the professionalism of our police. I now know - through a friend whose student was one of those arrested - that the bending back of hands was done with great force even to those who were not resisting. The pressure point tactic was also used where unnecessary.
.
And now this...
Arresting these organisers in this way boils down to police intimidation. The police are allowing themselves to be used as a tool of the government executive. This is the kind of abhorrent thing that happens in totalitarian states like Mainland China. This is related to the reason solicitors and Barristers marched last Friday. They understand the importance of the independence of various organs of law enforcement and judiciary. They don't want Judges to be used by the government to control and intimidate people. The police must also not be used by the government in this way. HK is in for a lot of very serious trouble. This is a very significant warning event. Stand up for freedom and justice or lose it!!!!!
jackie@militellos.net
A comment on the comments. Up until now, the comments on this site regarding the march on 7/1 have been pretty much in support of the protesters and against the govt & police. Now with this one, all of a sudden there are tons of pro-police comments --all from people with poor English. Up until now, I have not bought into the idea that someone is paying these people for comments and likes/dislikes as directed, but really this seems quite apparent that this is the case. And this is how freedom of the press and the people's voice is subverted.
536cccda-a3a0-4c71-a0d7-35050a320969
I don't know why everyone puts blames on the Hong Kong Police Force. It is her responsibility to maintain the public order. As we can see from thousands of hundreds of examples that protests were hijacked by some radical activists, the so-called non violence reallys are just too idealistic. Without the police's help, I cannot imagine what would have happened.
When talking about violence actions by the police, we had better give a more suitable definition to "violent action" because it is a quite subjective word. Let say, if a policeman holds a protester's hand while he intends to climb over a barricade, is it defined as "violence"? Or should the policeman just let him climb over it ?
I believe that if protesters were really rational and calm during the rally, the police would not have taken these "violent actions".
HKPF is the executor of laws and orders, something must be done once people break the law or else they would be saked. While everyone is blaming the police, why don't we try to put our feet to their shoe?
nmp_inc
Hong Kong becomes the Special AUTHORITARIAN REGIME ...
Anti communist HKer
This is a dangerously slippery slope that the HK police are going down. Trumped up charges like this easily becomes instrument of limitations of freedom. The police is renowned as an anti corrupt and fair department globally. Actions like this severely hamper this reputation.
seleneli
The front had indeed slowed the car to create pressure. This would have created lots of confrontations if people who joined the rally were not in a strong mind of expressing our needs in a peaceful and constructive. Trust the slow speed was not from the needs of participants but an agenda of the organizer only
53b625c6-e688-4f69-b873-743d0a320969
Political persecution happens when you are harassed in tax, business and every aspect of your life ..
To slow down the speed of demonstration is not persecution but a precaution to prevent accidents.
lucky you are in China, if you are in America, the democracy you so crave, you have to file a request for permit long before the demonstration and if you are allowed, you have to follow strict rules about how many feet you have to be away from sidewalks and traffic .etc..
Why don't you try to demonstrate in America and find out for yourself.
China is too easy on you and just as spoiled children of any parents, you double your disrespect to your country. because of their indulgence to you,
China should learn from America in granting permits for demonstrations to satisfy these spoiled brats' wish for democracy.

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