Tamar's protest square stays behind hoardings

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 August, 2014, 4:22am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

A 1,000 square metre forecourt outside the government headquarters in Admiralty which is being fenced off after several mass protests will remain behind hoardings until September 10.

The work will block what used to be free access to the square in front of the east-wing entrance to the Tamar site. It was due to be finished by the end of this month but a government spokesman said yesterday it had been delayed by bad weather. It comes ahead of planned protests over the National People's Congress Standing Committee's tougher-than-expected framework for electing Hong Kong's chief executive by universal suffrage in 2017. Organisers of the Occupy Central movement plan to rally outside the Chief Executive's Office on Sunday.

The government spokesman yesterday denied the delayed reopening of the forecourt had anything to do with looming protest action. "There has been some delay in the construction work because of bad weather. It is not unusual," the spokesman said.

Activist Icarus Wong Ho-yin, of the Civil Human Rights Front, said: "There are many places in the area to protest. Unless [Chief Executive] Mr Leung Chun-ying can fence off all of Hong Kong, he will still face protesters."

The forecourt, known as "Civic Square" by protesters, was previously open to the public and has been the stage for mass protests and sit-ins in recent years - including the anti-national education rallies in 2012 and last year's demonstration over the government's refusal to give HKTV a broadcasting licence.

The government last month decided to build a three-metre-high fence outside the east wing after violent protests at the neighbouring Legislative Council building against plans for two new towns in the New Territories.

On one occasion protesters used bamboo poles to try to pry open the doors to the complex. A government spokesman said at the time that it was not a public recreation area and the fencing was deemed necessary to "withstand potential security threats".