The Legislative Council complex will be partially closed to the public on Friday, Legco President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing announced yesterday, after protesters against a controversial new-town project in the New Territories stormed the building last Friday.
"This is a decision we have to make so we are hoping to avoid the same scenario this coming Friday," Tsang said yesterday.
But pan-democrat lawmakers said the restrictions should be one-off.
When the Finance Committee resumes discussions on funding for the preliminary work for the project on Friday afternoon, the public will be denied access to the Legco library, while all guided tour services except those for schools will be suspended.
Protesters were said to have gained entry to the Admiralty building last week by claiming they wanted to use the library.
Anyone considered by Legco staff to be exhibiting "inappropriate behaviour" will not be admitted to the venue's public area, and seats will be halved to 20.
Tsang accused some lawmakers' assistants of abusing their "access rights" within the building by helping activists to enter the complex. As a result, all councillors' assistants and their visitors will be barred from the first to third floors, where meetings will take place.
The measures had the support of all Legislative Council Commission members, Tsang said, while stressing the measures were temporary and the Legco secretariat would study how to improve the building's security.
The protesters last Friday included people who will lose their homes if the government presses ahead with its HK$120 billion plan for new towns in Kwu Tung and Fanling North.
While the decision to invite police to step in last Friday drew criticism, Tsang defended the move and said all measures taken were appropriate.
The secretariat asked for police assistance only when the situation that night was considered beyond the control of Legco security guards, he said, as activists continued to swarm in following calls on social media, and the crowd exceeded the foyer's safety capacity of 358 people.
He stressed that both he and the House Committee's chairman and vice-chairman were consulted before police were called, and that the force, too, would have to bear responsibility for any actions taken.
Tsang expressed regret over the "violence" used, which left eight Legco staff injured. He also said it was "very regrettable" that some lawmakers' assistants had abused their access rights.
Pan-democrat lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, a member of the commission, said they accepted the current measures - which she said would cause inconvenience to their work - to "pacify the legislators of different political stances who want to impose very strict regulations on the building's management".
"As a one-off … [we] would not object to these temporary measures," Ho said.