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Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 08:40

Aug 17 rallies to show public opposes 'Occupy'

By Kahon Chan in Hong Kong
 Aug 17 rallies to show public opposes 'Occupy'

(L-R) Robert Chow, Herman Hu and Pui Kwan-kay introduce an anti-"Occupy" parade slated for August 17, 2014 during a press conference in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong on August 5, 2014. (Parker Zheng/ China Daily)

The Aug 17 anti-"Occupy Central” rallies will show that most Hong Kong people oppose the illegal campaign, Alliance for Peace and Democracy Robert Chow Yung said on Monday.

Chow said the alliance also hopes to convince the opposition to abandon support for the “Occupy Central” campaign and instead work towards healing the divisions in society.

The Alliance for Peace and Democracy has organized the petition and mid-August rallies against the “Occupy” movement.

Its two proposed marches — together called “8.17 Peace and Democracy Day” — will mark an end to its campaign. It has already been successfully garnering much public support in the past two weeks.

As of 8 pm on Monday, the alliance’s anti-“Occupy” petition has been signed by almost 1.1 million people at street stations and via its online platform. But Chow explained that signing petitions was not enough. Public marches were also needed.

He said he did not believe more protests would polarize society any further. “We need to show strength in order to offer a hand of conciliation,” Chow told a press conference. He said this was vital so that “Occupy” supporters understood how other Hong Kong citizens felt about their illegal campaign.

Connie Wong Wai-ching, president of Kowloon Federation of Associations and one of the coordinators of the rallies, agreed. “We need to walk the walk for peace. We need to move along the road toward universal suffrage with concerted efforts,” Wong said.

Supporters may start off early at 7:30 am in a non-competitive running race, or join a more conventional march at 3 pm. Both rallies leave Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, follow a 3.2-kilometer route along the tramway and end at Charter Road in Central.

Participants will also be able to dedicate kapok flowers at Chater Garden or Statue Square to show their desire for peace in Central as well as for universal suffrage. The two flower collection points will remain open until 9 pm.

Organizers are hoping for 10,000 runners for the morning march. Over 320 organizations and groups have already committed to send representatives to the afternoon rally. Organizers earlier said they expected a turnout of 50,000 to 60,000.

Chow said it would be acceptable to offer marchers meals and transport. But he said they will not accept participants who request money.

At the narrow Pennington Street in Causeway Bay the alliance will ask marchers to move at a faster pace as this has proven to be a bottleneck during previous marches.

Police will not permit marchers to join the rally outside Sogo department store. This is in order to ease congestion.

The alliance also made it clear that — unlike the July 1 protest — organizers will reject participants who promote a different political message from the alliance.

Chow said the alliance did not hold specific views on the method of implementing universal suffrage.

He also reiterated that he has no intention of running for office. The former radio host re-emerged into the media spotlight when he formed the “Silent Majority for HK” group last summer to denounce the “Occupy” campaign.

kahon@chinadailyhk.com

 

 
 
 
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