• Fri
  • Jul 25, 2014
  • Updated: 10:33am
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?"

 

Share

Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

67

This article is now closed to comments

ldAsia
Good for them. These people learned the worst from the West - the disgusted so-called Occupy Wall Street that was organized by a bunch of unemployed that could not find a job and try to disturb the beautiful life of others. And, these type of people - when under the rule of the absolute power of a British appointed governor, they would not even dare to ****. Now the New China is getting stronger and brought the dignity and respect from the world to Chinese. Then, they thought they have the strength now to fight against China Government. What a Freaking Joke. They do not even know that you are so stupid and being exploited by those British and Americans who will even sell opium as merchandize. And, use the burning of opium as a pretense to form an alliance of 8 countries to invade and stole all the treasures from China. If they can afford, they should go visit the museums in the West to see what they display - Chinese Treasures!! They would not dare to protest to those Western countries to get back what belongs to China!! These people do not even know what is right in their mind - they are brain-washed by the West,
SeiMaiSei
@captem has a point. Take a look on YouTube at how demonstrators were dealt with during the G20 in Toronto. Another fine "democracy" for Hong Kong to aspire to emulate, perhaps?
Paradox314
This is the thin edge of the wedge - look for more politically inspired police persecution to come!
captam
The New York Police Department can educate Hong Kong's OC activists about how demonstrators in non-permitted areas are treated in "true democracies" and ..... meeting "international standards"
During the clearance of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in 2011, New York police mounted on motor scooters lined up across the road and repeatedly rammed into the crowd . It was very effective and soon got the people moving.
See it on video: ***** ://archive.org/details/youtube-ows-NYPDonMopedsRamPeopleoccupythestreetsn17-r5IyFqHfBYQ
London's MET police force has an even better trick; they use corralling (or "kettling") tactics , containing people for hours without food, water or even access to toilets. They are allowed to leave only when the police feel that they been sufficiently "calmed" ( read "punished") .
Our HK Police need a few tips on how democratic countries treat demonstrators in unlicensed areas
scmpgt
Look at how the communist party capture and torture people who don't agree with them. That is political persecution. HK has not reached that point.
Paradox314
If we don't pay attention and stand up it just might though!
shuike
Why should the other 95% of the population, not involved in the demonstration, be inconvenienced to make more lanes for these trouble makers who deliberately slow down the pace to make the impression that the streets are packed with more than 500k people when there are less than half the number? That's an authoritarian demand & makes them similar to the ones they so deride.
bensinscmp
I hope you're an expat and not a local Chinese. If so, shame on you.
daily
So?............what can you 5 idiots do about it?
53b62243-3608-46f3-a7cd-741e0a320969
How about investigating why police did not open more lanes so demonstrators could move more easily. The police say they needed access for emergencies but buses and other vehicles were seemingly abandoned on the closed-off lanes, making a joke of their claims.

Pages

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or