Organisers are struggling to find a venue for the annual July 1 march. Authorities have denied their requests for the protest to start in Victoria Park and several streets in Causeway Bay.
The Civil Human Rights Front, which organises the march, applied to the police for permission to start their protest in Causeway Bay’s pedestrian shopping area on East Point Road and Great George Street.
The police rejected their application, saying the roads were too small and would block access for emergency services. This comes after the Leisure and Cultural Services Department earlier rejected the front’s application to use the six football pitches in Victoria Park, as a pro-Beijing organisation is holding an event on the site on the same day.
In the past, protesters used the football pitches to gather before marching towards the central government offices in Tamar. The march is organised by pro-democracy groups every year and draws tens of thousands of people, protesting against a wide range of social and political issues.
The police have suggested that the front use the park’s central lawn instead. The front refused, saying it was too small and there would be overcrowding.
Wong Wing-yan, 15, from HKMA K. S. Lo College, said the rejections might have been politically motivated. “Victoria Park is the best place to have the march,” she said. “I think the authorities don’t want protesters to voice [their views], because they all shout things [that oppose] the government.”
Olivier Lee, 15, from Kellet School, said the government should respect the public’s right to freedom of assembly. “As long as the protesters are able to find a location where they do not disturb the peace of the general public … the government should allow them to hold a peaceful rally,” he said.