Anti-Occupy Central march fuels arguments

Anti-Occupy Central march fuels arguments

Sunday's anti-Occupy Central march was mainly peaceful, but it did cause arguments over how many people actually attended

Debates continue over the number and motivation of participants at Sunday's anti-Occupy Central march. The Alliance for Peace and Democracy claimed more than 190,000 people attended the protest against the proposed sit-in at Central, which will call for universal suffrage.

But the University of Hong Kong's Public Opinion Programme put the figure at between 79,000 and 88,000. Meanwhile, the police said that more people attended Sunday's protest than the July 1 pro-democracy march.

There were also questions raised over whether many attending the march even opposed Occupy Central.

Organisers booked more than 200 tables in restaurants in Causeway Bay for the demonstrators, Ming Pao Daily reported. Some have suggested that protesters were more interested in a free meal than the march.

There were also reports of buses transporting mainlanders to Victoria Park to join the march. But Robert Chow Yung, a spokesman for the alliance, said it was normal for rally organisers to provide meals and transportation. "Why [did] people come out for the march? They feared for the peace of Hong Kong," said Chow. "Protesters do not need to be able to answer a 30-question quiz on Occupy Central to attend."

There were minor clashes between demonstrators and Occupy Central supporters at the march. Police officers arrested four men after receiving reports of assault, criminal damage and a person throwing eggs.

The march marked the end of the alliance's month-long petition campaign against Occupy Central.

Nearly 1.5 million people have signed the petition, beating the 800,000 who voted in an unofficial referendum held in June by Occupy Central organisers. A firm date for Occupy Central has not been set yet.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Protest march dispute

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