With Hong Kong celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, the acting assistant district commander for Central, Kwok Chuk-kit, urged people to spend time with their families, adding that the ongoing protest movement won’t come to an end if everybody takes the weekend off and rests.
But he had a warning for anyone planning to take part in unauthorised assemblies.
“The objection [to Sunday’s protest] is based on public safety, public order, and the protection of the rights and freedom of others. I would like to take this opportunity to remind the public that if they take part in any prohibited public event, without any reasonable excuse, they may commit an offence under the Public Order Ordinance and be liable to imprisonment for five years,” Kwok said.
“The police urge the public to disassociate themselves from any illegal and violent acts,” he added.
The Civil Human Rights Front – which organised the massive protest marches earlier this summer – had wanted to hold a rally in Causeway Bay on Sunday before a march into Central.
But the Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions agreed with the police that the protest would likely descend into violence and the organisers would not be able to control the participants.
The front said it was disappointed with the appeal board’s decision and it would apply to hold further protests, on September 28 and October 1 – the National Day holiday.
A spokesman for the group, Eric Lai, said the authorities’ repeated denial of people’s right to take to the streets will only make the public even more angry.
“The objections and prohibitions are blocking our rights and freedoms and creating a sense of terror in society,” Lai said.
Earlier in the day, the appeal board also upheld a police ban on a march that had been planned in Tin Shui Wai on Saturday, citing safety concerns.
The police have banned numerous protests in recent weeks, but a lot of them have gone ahead regardless.