Organisers of an anti-Occupy Central signature campaign dismissed suggestions yesterday that companies could exert pressure on their employees to sign petitions calling for activists to back down from the threat of a large-scale sit-in.
Robert Chow Yung, a spokesman for the pro-Beijing Alliance for Peace and Democracy, said it was impossible to force anyone to sign because organisers of the campaign would be checking voters' identification cards when they submitted their votes.
The petition calls for universal suffrage in time for the chief executive election in 2017, a goal it shares with Occupy Central, but it specifies that must happen in a "peaceful and non-violent manner" without occupying Central.
Occupy Central plans to rally protesters to block traffic in Central if the government does not come up with a satisfactory universal suffrage plan in time.
Chow spoke two days after Towngas, in a rapid reversal, stopped collecting staff signatures after some complained they felt under pressure to sign.
The alliance wants to collect at least 800,000 signatures to outnumber the 793,000 people who voted in Occupy Central's unofficial referendum on electoral reform last month.
During the month-long campaign, from today until August 17, the group plans to set up at least 468 stations with 1,110 or so volunteers to help collect signatures.
Chow said people at the stations would check ID cards.
"How can you force someone … to sign something and take their ID card [to a station] for verification?" he said.
Occupy Central will meet Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on July 29 to report on its referendum.