HK Island commander Patrick Kwok

The police said on Thursday that they had no choice but to ban a pro-democracy rally and march planned for Hong Kong Island this weekend, because allowing it to go ahead would have led to “large-scale destruction”.

The Civil Human Rights Front, which organised peaceful marches attended by up to two million people in June, had wanted to hold a rally in Chater Garden on Saturday, to be followed by a procession to Beijing’s liaison office in Western.

But police have refused permission for the protest, saying the rally and the march route are close to some high-risk buildings, including Government House, the Court of Final Appeal, as well as the liaison office itself.

The force said it believes some protesters would have deviated from the route and vandalised these buildings, and the organisers would not have been able to stop them.

At their daily press briefing, the force also warned that the safety of the demonstrators and the general public would have been put in danger.

“We have noticed a lot of online comments to propagate the use of extreme violence in the coming protests. Some netizens even went to the extreme of promoting deadly violence,” said Hong Kong Island commander, Patrick Kwok.

“From our past experience, these radical protesters have indeed realised their extreme ideas into reality. We believe there is a very, very high chance that certain radical protesters would hijack this proposed public event again.”

The Civil Human Rights Front said it was appealing against the ban, but was not optimistic it would be successful.