Pro-democracy group accuses Hong Kong police of blocking women’s march
A pro-democracy group in Hong Kong said today that national security police prevented activists from joining a highly anticipated protest, which was canceled at the last minute by the organizer.
The League of Social Democrats said police questioned four of its members on Friday and warned them not to take part in the march that was planned by the Hong Kong Working Women’s Association.
“The League of Social Democrats is very angry at having been threatened and prevented by the national security police from joining a legal protest. But decided to be absent under such pressure,” the group said.
The police said, in a written statement to The Associated Press (AP), that when they take any action, they treat it “according to the actual situation and the law”.
The planned event would have been the first major civil rights protest in three years approved by police and the first after the lifting of major restrictions due to covid-19, including mask wearing.
During the pandemic, large protests were rare due to the control of the pandemic. Furthermore, many activists were silenced or jailed after China’s central government imposed a comprehensive national security law, following strong protests in 2019.
On Saturday night, the women’s association announced in a message on the social network Facebook that, regrettably, it had decided to cancel the march that it planned to claim for work and women’s rights, and for gender equality, without specifying the reason.
Half an hour later, acting superintendent Dennis Cheng said at a press briefing that the organizer notified them that they had canceled the march, after weighing the pros and cons.
Asked whether the police had told the organizer to call off the protest to avoid embarrassing Beijing, Cheng said the police respected the organizer’s decision and believed the balance had been struck, declining further comment.
Cheng said some violent groups wanted to join the protest and warned the public against participating, failing to identify the groups. The police letter of authorization for the protest was then found to be invalid and authorities warned that anyone trying to gather today would be considered a participant in an unauthorized rally.
Este artigo está disponível em: Português