The first post-handover rally for democracy suffered a setback yesterday when an Urban Council committee voted down the use of the Victoria Park bandstand as its assembly point on July 1. Filed by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, the application was defeated by 13 votes to 11 at the recreation committee meeting. The rejection came after Hong Kong Women Working Together Towards 1997, a coalition of 81 groups, submitted a second application for the use of the entire park - instead of the earlier approved six football fields - for events to celebrate the reunification. Councillors were shown a police memo which said it would be inappropriate to let the alliance use the bandstand from the point of view of 'crowd management'. Legislator Cheung Man-kwong, a senior member of the alliance, accused the women's group of trying to suppress their activities by playing with Urbco procedures. He said he was surprised by the memo from Assistant Commissioner of Police Dick Lee Ming-kwai, noting that police had said they would uphold the principle of neutrality and allow the Urban Council to vet the plan. Mr Lee said it would be inappropriate for another function to be held in the same venue, saying about 40,000 were expected to turn up for the women's groups' celebrations. But Mr Cheung said: 'We have been told the bandstand has not been reserved. There will be a large piece of grass-covered area separating us from the celebration activities. After all, we are only using it as an assembly point.' Urban councillor Fred Li Wah-ming vowed to try to overturn the committee's decision at the Urbco Standing Committee meeting on Tuesday. Chairman of the women's coalition Peggy Lam Pei Yu-dja said they only realised recently that they had not been granted the use of the entire park. 'It means little to us whoever the applicant is, we want to use the entire park.' But their application was also rejected by the committee chairman's casting vote.