Gov’t responds to procession

December 8, 2019

In response to today’s Human Rights Day rally, the Government said it hopes to work together with the whole community to stop the violence, uphold the rule of law, restore social order and find a way out for Hong Kong's deep-seated problems through dialogue.


In a statement issued tonight, the Government noted today’s procession was issued a Letter of No Objection by Police, was participated in by a large number of members of the public and was generally peaceful and orderly.


It also appealed to participants still gathering after the procession to disperse peacefully as soon as possible.


The Government pointed out that Hong Kong people's freedom of speech, of the press, of publication, of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration are fully protected by the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other legislation.


Provisions of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights as applied to Hong Kong remain in force.


“Today's procession as well as the 50,000 public assemblies and processions held in the city over the past five years are testimony to the freedom of peaceful assembly, of procession, of demonstration and of speech enjoyed by the people.”


It added that while today's procession was ongoing, there were still violent and illegal acts, in particular, vandalism and arson targeting the Court of Final Appeal and the High Court.


“In a society governed by the rule of law, everyone must respect the courts, judges and their rulings. Any attack and smear against the Judiciary would cause enormous damage to the rule of law in Hong Kong, which is unacceptable to the whole community. The Government severely condemns the acts.


“In addition, some people blocked roads and trashed shops and banks while the procession was ongoing, posing a danger to the peaceful protesters.”


Regarding allegations against Police raised by some protesters today, the Government stressed it is incumbent upon Police to maintain public safety and order.


If protest activities are conducted peacefully and orderly in general, as with the procession today, Police would not need to use any force. However, when unlawful acts take place, Police must take appropriate action, including deploying appropriate force to handle and stop the violent acts.


While using force and making arrests, Police must act according to the law, taking account of the situation at the scene, and in an appropriate manner. They must also comply with the force’s internal guidelines.


“The Government does not tolerate any breach of law or offence against discipline by police officers. Anyone who is unsatisfied with the operations of Police may file complaints according to established procedures.”

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