Nine pro-democracy lawmakers from Hong Kong who intended to join a protest against national security legislation in Macau yesterday were barred from entering the city. They and 15 other Hong Kong residents were turned away on the day Macau celebrated the ninth anniversary of its handover, police said. Lawmakers accused the Macau government of not respecting the rule of law by failing to tell them what laws they had broken. After being detained at Macau's ferry pier for an hour, the lawmakers, along with activists from the Democratic Party, Civic Party and League of Social Democrats, were told at 1.30pm to take a ferry back to Hong Kong. 'Nobody asked us what we planned to do in Macau but we were told we were breaching the law. They did not even tell us which sections of the law we had broken,' lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan said. The Civic Party's Ronny Tong Ka-wah, the league's Leung Kwok-hung and Ms Ho were granted entry to the city late last month to attend a forum on enacting legislation to comply with Article 23 of the Basic Law. Similar to the proposed security law drafted in Hong Kong in 2003, Macau's proposed law foresees the criminalisation of treason, secession and subversion. The group took a ferry to Macau at 11.15am but more than 20 were detained after passing through immigration. Only a few, including lawmakers' aides, were allowed entry. They were told to sign refusal notices, which stated that they were denied entry under Macau's internal security laws. All refused to sign. The lawmakers denied entry - including Democrats Albert Ho Chun-yan, Emily Lau Wai-hing, Lee Wing-tat and Kam Nai-wai, unionist Lee Cheuk-yan, the Civic Party's Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and Alan Leong Kah-kit, Mr Leung and Ms Ho - had planned to join a rally opposing Article 23 and attend a forum. Macau's government said visitors should respect its laws and not interfere in its internal affairs. It said the national security legislation had undergone broad consultation. Mr Kam said the refusal would only damage the Macau government's reputation because it had failed to respect human rights. Li Gang, deputy director of the central government's liaison office, and Hong Kong Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung said Macau's decision should be respected. Mr Li added that Hong Kong's main concerns were the economy and improving livelihoods.