Occupy Central

Democrats ready for small-scale protests: Emily Lau

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 4:12am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 4:12am

The Democratic Party is ready to take part in small-scale Occupy Central protests if Beijing fails to offer a framework for electoral reform that complies with international standards for universal suffrage, a party source says.

More than 100 of its 700 members had signed up for the planned Occupy Central protest, but the party would not initiate the small-scale demonstrations, the source said.

The Democrats would also form focus groups and intensify publicity efforts to promote the civil disobedience movement at the community level.

Democrats chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing last night said her party would join forces with other groups in the Occupy Central campaign, which could start as early as this month.

She asked the government to include in its upcoming political reform consultation report the results of last month's unofficial referendum as well as public views expressed at the July 1 rally.

Meanwhile, the Correctional Services Officers' Association yesterday said it supported the arrest of young activists who took part in an overnight sit-in in Central after the July 1 march.

The activists called the Chater Road sit-in a rehearsal of the Occupy Central protest.

The correctional services staff union's statement followed one issued by the Customs and Excise Staff General Association in support of the police. It emerged yesterday that it was largely copied from a July 3 article in pro-government Chinese-language daily Wen Wei Po.

In the statement, dated July 5, the association accused "an extremely small number of radical elements" of staging the Occupy Central movement, and praised the police for "safeguarding Hong Kong's rule of law".

Internet users took to social media to slam the association for copying almost word for word from the July 3 Wen Wei Po article as well as two other related news reports published on July 4 and June 16. The association was not available for comment last night.

The Junior Police Officers' Association was also earlier criticised for its statement, in which it used a mainland-style phrase - often translated into English as "provoking quarrels and making trouble" - to describe the sit-in protesters.

The criminal charge is regularly used against political dissidents on the mainland, but does not exist under Hong Kong law.

Security undersecretary John Lee Ka-chiu yesterday said the statement was meant for internal staff communication.

Additional reporting by Ng Kang-chung