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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 9:38am
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Police say anti-Occupy Central turnout was higher than July 1 march

Pro-Beijing alliance says turnout shows many Hongkongers are against civil disobedience campaign, despite claims of protest recruitment

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 August, 2014, 11:36pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 August, 2014, 4:50pm
 

Poll

  • Yes: 31%
  • No: 69%
18 Aug 2014
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 475

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets yesterday in protest at the threat by Occupy Central campaigners to paralyse Central and pressure Beijing into giving Hong Kong "genuine" universal suffrage.

Among those leading the march, organised by the pro-establishment Alliance for Peace and Democracy, were executive councillors Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, Cheung Chi-kong, Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, and Cheng Yiu-tong.

There were also large numbers of mainland tourists and organised groups of elderly participants from leftist associations.

Watch: Why Anti-Occupy Central demonstrators occupied Central, the answer is unclear

Shouts of "Against Occupy Central" echoed through the streets as the crowds marched from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Garden in Central.

Police said about 111,000 people took part, compared with its estimate of roughly 98,600 for the pro-democracy march on July 1. The University of Hong Kong public opinion programme put the number at between 79,000 and 88,000, roughly half of its estimate for the July 1 march.

An initial estimate by the alliance put the figure at 193,000.

READ: United they stand - Anti-Occupy campaign rallies establishment camp

The protest was peaceful apart from some minor clashes between marchers and opponents. Four men aged between 36 to 58 were arrested. Another marcher threw eggs at radical People Power activists.

A statement from Hong Kong police said: "Police received several incident reports in the course of the event, including assault, criminal damage and a person throwing eggs." It added officers "handled the incidents in a fair and just manner".

Amid conflicting reports on the size of the crowd, rumours flew of participants being strong-armed into attending and of people being offered a free lunch or money. Many restaurants in the area reported full houses. Tour buses were also seen streaming into Victoria Park, reportedly bringing people from across the border.

Starry Lee Wai-king, an executive councillor and lawmaker from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said: "The turnout shows many Hong Kong people do not want to see Occupy Central happen. [The Occupy Central] activists have gone too far."

The march marked the end of the alliance's month-long petition campaign against Occupy Central during which nearly 1.5 million people signed, beating the 800,000 who voted in an unofficial referendum held in June by Occupy Central organisers.

Dr Chan Kin-man, an organiser of Occupy Central, said he respected the freedom of speech of the marchers. "I hope they can understand that Occupy Central will only be our last resort," he said.

A government spokesman said: "The [Hong Kong] government welcomes and supports all activities which take forward the implementation of universal suffrage for the chief executive election in 2017 in accordance with the law and opposes all unlawful acts which affect social order and the betterment of our people."

Dr James Sung Lap-kung, a City University political scientist, said that whatever the size of the march's crowd, it would not stop the Occupy Central movement.

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This article is now closed to comments

caractacus
I do not have any firm opinion on OC, but this march was a grotesque scam. People have a choice as to what they believe, even if they have no real choice as to who governs them or how. Most, however, are ignorant and ill informed as we have seen in this fake march on 17th August.
Almost all educated and / or intelligent HK people want is to keep things honest. They are not fools, even less subservient tools of a rotten political system.
All this demonstration does is to throw into sharp relief the fact that HK is governed by a corrupt, self appointed elite of officials and big business tycoons who are prepared to employ the lowest methods to maintain their dominance over the economy and perpetuate a rotten political system. To its eternal shame, the HK Police Force has surrendered its integrity by deliberately underestimating the numbers of OC demonstrators and grossly inflating the numbers this Sunday.
70 years ago those who support this sort of corrupt system wore brown shirts and were throwing Jewish people into concentration camps. The CCP has morphed from a socialist entity into a corrupt dictatorship using extreme nationalism as its support.
Slr
I live opposite Victoria park and did not know about either march until the day they happened. But I can say that if anyone believes that yesterday's anti-occupy-central was bigger then they are delusional
. The occupy-central gathering was not only at least twice as big but also much cleaner! I saw no litter in the streets nor the park after the July 1st march, but yesterday's littering was appalling and disgusting. Just from the littering perspective I think it was clear who cares more about their country and civility.
Dai Muff
It was the best protest money could buy.
ianson
The police crowd estimate is truly dismaying. I had an excellent vantage point throughout the march. It was plainly no more than half of the pro-democracy number and possibly as little as a quarter. It was mostly less dense and its duration was hours less. The official estimate places beyond doubt that our Police Force has now been completely politicised by the CCP which is a sad fact to have to accept.
fmhung
The only thing this farce has shown, is that many hongkongers and Chinese mainlanders likes to have a free lunch and earn a few dollars for being such good sheep. It had to be one of the biggest eye sore in HK recently. And even with the Chinese money machine behind this movement, the turnout was laughable.
Paradox314
An organization called Hong Kong Youth Association paid protestors $250 each and bussed them in from Yuen Long today. Elsie Leung Oi-sie, ( 梁愛詩) is one of the top board members of the organization. Here's the report:
****cablenews.i-cable.com/webapps/news_video/index.php?news_id=439444
An undercover reporter managed to get an invitation and got onto the bus. She videoed the whole affair including the payment of money.
53ec683d-6c1c-46d2-be0f-08e30a3209ca
The beginning of tyranny looks just like this. Those in power mobilises two groups of people: the greedy and the ignorant. The greedy took the money and did not know, or care, what they are supporting; the ignorant thought they are advocating 'non violence' and the 'rule of law'. Both, however, do not realise that they are being used as tools to oppress peaceful protesters who are exercising their lawful constitutional right of assembly to urge for democracy. Both do not realise they are helping the government do violence to the rule of law which is supposed to protect human rights: ****ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk/a-human-rights-defence-of-hong-kongs-occupy-central/
lucifer
Pro Government Protesters protesting a protest against the government's undemocratic reform plan. This is insane.
...and they say Occupy Central will have a negative impact on Hong Kong? What about the Central and local government colluding with thugs and state owned companies and pressuring employees to support the government's anti-democratic reform plan? Somehow, this does not give the impression of chaos? It sure does.
johnh
At $300 a pop, they better at least pretend they care! LOL
chaz_hen
Wonder how many of those "elderly leftists" ran from the mainland back in the 60s and 70s? Suddenly they're patriots...
This is the same as the CCP tactic in the mainland of busing in students to "protest" at something the government is unhappy with (usually the west), only in this case they have to use old folks and unemployed as the students in HK wouldn't fall for such silliness.

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