Early stoppage of rally justified

January 2, 2020

Police today cited public safety as the reason behind its decision to cut short a public procession on New Year’s Day.


During a press conference in the afternoon, Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen said Police maintained close communication with the procession organiser.


He said: “It was evident that the organiser soon lost control of how the event would develop as it was hijacked by rioters to wreak havoc along the route.


“So we asked the organiser to cut short the procession at 5.30pm and gave them time to disperse the crowds peacefully.


“This decision was certainly in the interest of public safety. The violence that broke out at various locations would have posed a grave threat to the safety of all participants.”


He pointed out that Police gave multiple warnings and sufficient time for people to leave before using force, including tear gas to disperse remaining participants.


“Our repeated warnings fell on deaf ears and that is why our intervention was necessary.


“We must reiterate that no one has the privilege to stay in a riot when police officers have given repeated warnings for people to leave.


“You can claim to be a first aider, a human rights observer, you name it. But this does not give you any exemption from the legal liability of taking part in a riot.”


Police intercepted 464 people and released about one-third of them after initial investigations, he added.

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