SOCIAL workers will be given guidelines on whether they should join demonstrations in support of their clients. Concern about social workers' support for their clients has been raised after last month's demonstration by 40 former Tsuen Wan illegal rooftop residents and social workers dealing with their cases. Some academics, including Professor Nelson Chow Wing-sun of the Hong Kong University, disapproved, questioning whether social workers should join such 'radical' demonstrations as sleeping on the streets and blocking traffic during rush hours. Three influential welfare organisations in the territory - the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, the Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union and the Hong Kong Social Workers' Association - are establishing an independent committee to look into the problem. The five-member committee will examine the role of social workers involved in helping the illegal rooftop residents and their participation in public protests. The protesters, armed with stoves and food to highlight their homelessness, blocked rush-hour traffic for an hour in Garden Road, Central, on December 14, in protest against the Government's decision to demolish their homes. Twenty-two protesters, including 10 social workers, were arrested by police for blocking traffic. The charges were dropped. Philip Choi Shing-kiu, president of the Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union, said his union supported the Tsuen Wan residents but had reservations about the method of support. Mr Choi said: 'The committee will talk to the social workers involved in helping the Tsuen Wan residents. We hope the committee will come up with some independent comment and recommendations.' The recommendations would be for reference only and the committee would be disbanded after its work was finished. The union was looking for people to sit on the committee. 'I believe the committee could start working only after the evicted Tsuen Wan residents are rehoused,' Mr Choi said. 'At present the social workers involved are still busy helping the residents.' Chan Kwok-kwong, a social worker who was arrested after helping the Tsuen Wan illegal rooftop residents during last month's demonstration in Central, denied the protest was radical. 'We are just supporting the residents and giving them advice,' he said. 'Every final decision was made by residents themselves. 'I think those people criticising us may not understand our work, the real frontline work. These people should come and talk to the residents.'