Huge police presence for Sunday rally after NPC decision on 2017 poll
More than 7,000 specially trained officers ready for planned Sunday rally by about 1,000 people after NPC lays down law on 2017 poll
Clifford Lo and Joyce Ng
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About a quarter of the city's 28,000 police officers will be deployed on Sunday when some 1,000 Occupy Central protesters are expected to gather outside the government headquarters in Admiralty.
More than 7,000 officers, who have been specially trained to deal with the civil disobedience campaign, will be divided into two groups, with each taking 12-hour shifts, according to a police source.
Occupy Central plans to hold a rally at Tamar Park, outside the central government offices, from 7pm to 9pm on Sunday - hours after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) announces its decision on the parameters of the city's first popular election for chief executive in 2017.
Occupy co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting said Sunday's rally would be only the start of the next phase of the movement's campaign and there were no plans to stage a sit-in.
The command centre of the police operation, codenamed Solarpeak, will be set up at the Wan Chai police headquarters, while the Police College in Wong Chuk Hang will be turned into a temporary detention centre, with room for 3,000 detainees.
"At this stage, we have no plan to remove them even if they refuse to leave after 9pm and continue to occupy the park," the police source said.
He stressed, however, that police would take swift action if anyone broke the law .
Separately, about 30 people, including professionals, joined a rally last night organised by Occupy Central to protest against the NPC's draft. About 10 policemen watched the gathering.
Edward Chin Chi-kin, spokesman for Occupy Central's finance and banking group, said: "We have seen the influx of mainland capital from unknown sources into Hong Kong, which can only get worse as political power remains in the hands of a small bunch of people."
A financial industry professional who attended the rally said he had been donating money to Occupy and had been left "without hope" by the NPC's draft.
"The pro-establishment people have exaggerated the potential economic harm of Occupy. We have a network of subways and footbridges in Central, so business can continue as usual," the man said.
Edward Chan, a hedge fund manager, said it was difficult for him to persuade people in the trade to support Occupy.
"Many have foreign passports and they think they will just leave after making enough money."
The draft decision on which the NPC Standing Committee is expected to vote on Sunday states that a nominating committee has the sole power to choose candidates for the election and it will be modelled on the election committee that chose the current chief executive in 2012.
Aspirants will have to gain the support from half of the committee to qualify for the public vote.