Monday, 20 October 2014

A Legal End to Protests?

One of many protesters camped out in front of the Legislative Council last night
It took three third parties to get the High Court to issue court injunctions to clear the protest sites at both Mongkok and Admiralty tonight.

In Mongkok there were two plaintiffs, the Taxi Association and Taxi Drivers and Operators Association who asked to clear Nathan Roads, near to and between Argyle and Dundas streets, and Chiu Luen Public Light Bus Company who wanted Argyle Street between Tung Choi Street and Portland Street to resume traffic.

While accepting the plaintiffs' arguments that the occupied streets caused a nuisance and were an "inconvenience", the judge also noted Mongkok was the site of violent clashes with police, and that prolonged occupation could lead to even more violence.

Not long after the High Court issued another court injunction saying protesters in Admiralty must clear fire exits, emergency vehicle exits and the entrance to the car park at Citic Tower, at the intersection of Tim Mei Avenue and Lung Wui Road.

A string of yellow umbrellas on the walkway
The applicant for the injunction, Golden Investment Limited, claimed protests were "severely affecting the operations of commercial and retail business within the property", and putting tenants at risk.

Both court injunctions are effective immediately, as police could evict protesters at any moment, but they aren't leaving anytime soon.

People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip said he was talking to legal experts about appealing the decisions, though he warned that from now on there was a risk in staying on the occupied roads, as contempt of court could lead to a custodial sentence.

Scholarism founder Joshua Wong Chi-fung says it's up to protesters to decide if they wanted to stay or not, and those who remain should be aware of the legal consequences.

But everyone seems to be waiting to see what happens at tomorrow's talks before deciding what to do next.

However Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and the Hong Kong police have decided to vilify the protesters before the dialogue.

Yesterday Leung was interviewed by ATV and claimed that "external forces from different countries from different parts of the world" had taken part in the Occupy Movement.

"This is not entirely a domestic movement and it is getting out of hand," he said on ATV's Newsline.

Can Hong Kong still retain its unique identity within China?
Leung did not clarify exactly who, and the US Consulate today denied any part in the protests.

Meanwhile the police said parents who brought young children to the protests were doing something "extremely irresponsible and dangerous".

"As some protesters act more and more radical, anyone bringing young children to high-risk areas may put their safety at risk in case of confrontation. The parents or adults concerned may have breached the laws of Hong Kong," the statement said.

Police said they would take "appropriate action to protect children from unnecessary harm", without elaborating on what exactly they would do.

Parents would be silly to bring their children to Mongkok these days, but Admiralty? We saw many young kids last night, even newborns. Their parents obviously wanted them to see what was going on even if they were too young to comprehend.

The shrillness of the authorities' voices are so reminiscent of Beijing. The extreme language they use and the vagueness makes it all the more... pathetic.

Except for the tensions in Mongkok, who really believes their protectionist language that borders on paranoia?

Yet another sign of Hong Kong fast becoming like another Chinese city...

1 comment:

  1. "...who really believes their protectionist language that borders on paranoia?"

    Those that haven't been to the protest areas, that still have an unfailingly belief in the authority of the media they rely on and the official, well, authorities.

    As a friend who has spent quite a bit of time in Mongkok said of the likes of CNN and co, "All they show is the exciting part. 23.9 hours of sleeping, recycling, and homework goes missing."