Approval for an advance march for June 4 has been denied by police, who cited social distancing measures that remain in force.
But organizer Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said it will appeal to people to march in groups of four and maintain social distancing on May 30 – the Sunday before June 4, the 32nd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident.
This is the second year in a row that authorities have refused to issue a letter of no objection for the annual event.
The alliance had an hour-long meeting with police yesterday on holding a march.
Like previous years, the march’s route is set from Southorn Playground in Wan Chai to the liaison office in Sai Ying Pun, with the alliance previously expecting to see 3,000 to 5,000 people joining.
While police did not ban the march outright during the meeting, they had repeatedly reminded that public gatherings of more than four people were still prohibited.
Convener of the alliance’s permanent secretariat branch Leung Kam-wai said the group is hoping to have another meeting with police. He added: “The alliance will adopt an open attitude in negotiating with police and continue to petition for a lawful march.”
Leung said back-up plans would depend on the discussions.
He urged police to respect the rights of Hongkongers to assemble, march and voice their demands.
“It is also hoped that police can issue a letter of no objection for the march, allowing people to join the annual event to fight for democracy and freedoms like previous years,” he said.
Leung said he is not worried that the alliance’s missions – including ending Beijing’s one-party dictatorship and building a democratic China – are grounds for the march’s ban or contravene the national security law.
“The alliance has been striving to fulfill the same missions over the past 32 years and we will not change the missions or give up,” he said.
Lo Wai-ming, a member of the alliance’s standing committee, said police did not give any suggestions for the march’s possible arrangements.
Alliance vice chairwoman Tonyee Chow Hang-tung said she is not optimistic that police would grant permission for the march.
“We are willing to comply with all reasonable measures to protect participants amid the Covid situation, like social distancing measures and masks or even crowd-control over people coming in and going out,” she told a radio program.
“We are open to discussions, but we will have to see what police propose or agree to.”
The alliance will also have a meeting with police on Tuesday regarding holding the June 4 candlelight vigil.