The July 1 pro-democracy rally was not a major factor behind the timing of the PLA's biggest open day in Hong Kong, a colonel from the army said yesterday. 'It depends on your perspectives [as for which day we choose],' said Colonel Feng Wei, a spokesman for the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison. 'We have our considerations about when to open the barracks. [The rally] is neither an important, nor an influential factor behind our decision.' He was replying to queries over how much of a factor the planned protest was when the PLA decided on the date for its open day. Colonel Feng stopped short of saying the open day was a diversion to keep people away from the rally. Three barracks will open to 15,000 members of the public. The PLA has also introduced new elements, such as demonstrations by the armed forces, to make its open day more attractive. The colonel played down suggestions that the display of arms was intended to intimidate. Instead, the displays were meant to give Hong Kong citizens an understanding of the abilities of the forces, according to the colonel. 'As for whether it's a show of strength to the democrats, I would say it is not necessary for the PLA in Hong Kong to do that,' he said. 'We would like the open day to enhance communication and allow the public to understand the country better.' The PLA would also welcome the democrats should they decide to visit the barracks on July 1, Colonel Feng said. 'We welcome people from all sectors,' he added.