Organisers decide to continue campaign despite the government's backdown The temporary suspension of the Central reclamation project failed to stop hundreds of people assembling yesterday to protest against the government's reclamation plans as part of the Central-Wan Chai bypass project. They donned blue T-shirts and ribbons, chanted slogans, sang and handed out anti-reclamation posters in Edinburgh Square, Central. The group, Action on Protection of the Harbour - set up by Central and Western district councillors and professionals - said it welcomed the government's decision to suspend the reclamation project on Saturday. But it decided that yesterday's assembly had to go ahead because the temporary suspension was not a proper response to the public's request to halt all unnecessary reclamation. Kwok Ka-ki, convenor of the action group, said: 'About 2,000 to 3,000 people showed up today. Many are lawyers, doctors and other professionals. This shows that people are very upset about what the government is doing. The reclamation will harm our interest and future. We cannot but come out to show our discontent. 'Filling the harbour is not only against the law but also against the wishes of the public. The government said filling the harbour would be beneficial to the people. But keeping the harbour intact is more beneficial to us because this is what attracts tourists and money to Hong Kong.' The action group also accused the government of misleading the public about the need to fill the harbour, saying that the Central-Wan Chai bypass - which requires that 23 hectares of the harbour be reclaimed - was only an excuse for the government to get more land. The temporary suspension was just a tactic to gain more time. 'The government should stop fooling us,' Dr Kwok said. 'If it was not because of Winston Chu Ka-sun [chairman of the Society for the Protection of the Harbour], it would be difficult to see the damage done until the harbour was filled. The damage is irreversible.' The High Court is due to rule on an application to stop work on the Central reclamation project on Friday, after the Society for the Protection of the Harbour won a judicial review into whether the project should continue while an appeal court decides on the legality of the works. Mr Chu said during the assembly that the society would not rule out further large-scale demonstrations if public opinion was not heard and requests not answered. 'If the law can't protect us, we will find other ways to tell the government what we want. I am sure the public will come out, he said. Meanwhile, environmental protection will be the theme of Law Week 2003, to be launched this Sunday by the Law Society. Organiser Anthony Hung said a forum on the reclamation project would be held next month. 'It used to take about 10 minutes to get across the harbour by ferry, and now it's shortened to only about five minutes. Very soon will be able to walk across the harbour, and that's very sad,' he said. 'All environmental issues are important to us. But the reclamation problem is surely one of the topics on our agenda.'