The group’s lawyer, Douglas Kwok, had argued before the board that the CHRF doesn’t encourage violence and has long been a trusted organiser of peaceful demonstrations.
He also said that banning public assemblies doesn’t necessarily help to bring peace to the streets and recent months have shown that violent clashes may start even sooner in the day if people are not allowed to attend a peaceful rally.
Kwok said especially when feelings of hatred are prevalent in society, it is important to give peaceful, rational, and non-violent protesters room to express their views in a legal assembly.
But senior police superintendent Jim Ng warned there was a very high risk that protests on National Day would turn violent, and it would be very unsafe for people to take part in any demonstrations.
Ng said even though he agreed that peaceful protesters may help mitigate violence on the streets, their safety would be in jeopardy.
The board agreed with the police that there was a high chance the planned march from Causeway Bay to Central would descend into chaos, and that organisers would be unable to ensure the safety of participants.
Speaking after the decision, CHRF convenor Jimmy Sham said the group was therefore cancelling the demonstration, adding that it is very sad that Hong Kong people’s freedoms are being further undermined.
The group’s vice convenor, Bonnie Leung, said she believes many people will still hold their own demonstrations on Tuesday.
“We will send our blessings to all the people who will go to the streets tomorrow. We bless you, and we also urge everybody, please be safe and do not make sacrifices. Everybody, be water and be safe”, she said.
The massive marches earlier this summer were also organised by the CHRF and the police had approved a rally the group held at Tamar at the weekend to mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the Occupy movement.