More than 10,000 Hongkongers plan to have a “picnic” at Tamar Park outside of the Legislative Council complex on Wednesday, when the second reading of the extradition bill is scheduled to take place. However, the normally unrestricted lawn areas in the park were blocked off with red and white plastic tape today, and some metal barricades can be seen on some park pathways, according to a Twitter post by Galileo Cheng, a writer in the media industry based in Hong Kong.
The two posts were published at 9.49am and 5.30pm today
A government press release released at 6.06pm also stated that the East Wing Forecourt in front of the Legco Complex would be temporarily closed until further notice.
Following the mass rally against the extradition bill on June 9, which saw hundreds of thousands of protesters march from Victoria Park to Admiralty, organisers Civil Human Rights Front and other various groups have called for further action on Wednesday.
The picnic is one of the public Facebook events encouraging the public to gather outside the Legco complex.
A Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) spokesperson told Young Post today at noon that the Department had posted a notice on April 15 to notify the public of a regular turf maintenance between April 23 and June 16.
However, a Young Post reporter was at the complex on June 5 and did not see any plastic tape around the lawn. Young Post has asked the LCSD for the reasons for the sudden blockage of the lawn today. As of 6.47pm, they had not responded.
Some of the public gatherings protesting against the amendment to the extradition bill will start as early as 11pm tonight. In response to a second wave of protests outside Legco, Hong Kong police are planning to flood the streets with 5,000 officers, law enforcement sources told South China Morning Post.
The deployment from a total force of 30,000 will see officers drafted in from all over Hong Kong, which comes in response to the running battles that took place between police and protesters in the early hours of Monday morning.
Describing it as “a huge operation”, one source told SCMP that “the police force will mobilise the workforce from all districts”.
On June 10, Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, the vice-chairman of the Labour Party, called for all parties to go on labour, market or school strikes on June 12.
“We’re forced by the government to take this step,” Cheung said at the press conference held with the Front and other pro-democracy legislators.
As of 6.47pm today, ex-committees from the Education University of Hong Kong’s Students’ Union have gathered responses from more than 1,000 local businesses supporting the market strike, while more than 2,000 counsellors, carers and therapists from 50 social work organisations and religious groups were expected to take part in a labour strike.
Students from more than 70 secondary schools in the city are also planning to join the school strike tomorrow.