Executive Councillor Edward Chen Kwan-yiu rgued yesterday that proposed changes to civil rights laws after the handover were unnecessary. Tung Chee-hwa's cabinet is discussing a consultation paper to be released next week on amending the Public Order and Societies ordinances. The Public Order Ordinance requires organisers of a public meeting of more than 50 people and processions of more than 30 people to notify the police at least seven days before the event. But under Preparatory Committee proposals to change the Public Order Ordinance, permission would be needed from police. Professor Chen said there should be no need to seek permission and he hoped the Special Administrative Region executive council would consult widely before making any decisions. It has been suggested within Mr Tung's cabinet that demonstrations could be staged with 'negative approval' of the police. Demonstrations could go ahead so long as permission had been applied for and the police had not objected. Professor Chen queried the legality of any amendments passed by the provisional legislature. 'If someone is to stage a peaceful demonstration on July 1, there is the question of under what legislation are they empowered to do so and the legality of the law which is passed by the provisional legislature,' he said. Police yesterday urged early notification of plans for demonstrations at the handover, but denied the appeal was provoked by the proposed changes. Assistant Commissioner of Police Dick Lee Ming-kwai, overseeing handover ceremony security, said the main aim was to ensure public safety and order. Superintendent Winnie Chiu Wai-yin said the appeal was not provoked by likely changes to the law. 'We do not know exactly if there would be changes in the law nor do we know how it would be changed at present. We are law enforcers and would act in accordance to the existing law,' Ms Chiu said. But she said the existing law also empowered the police to raise objections to public meetings for safety reasons. Secretary for Justice-designate Elsie Leung Oi-sie was handed a 9,000-signature petition opposing the repeal of human rights laws. Ms Leung promised activists their views would be relayed to the National People's Congress.