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Thursday, Jul 16, 2020

Hong Kong democracy party to hold rally targeting shoppers from mainland China

Democratic Party given permission to hold first march since anti-government protests broke out in June. Event on Sunday aimed at parallel traders in border town of Sheung Shui
A pro-democracy political party will hold a march against parallel traders and shoppers from mainland China in a Hong Kong border town on Sunday, a week after anti-government protesters clashed with police in the same district.

The event in Sheung Shui will be the first march organised by the Democratic Party in the seven months of social unrest that has rocked Hong Kong.

Lam Tsz-king, the party’s North district councillor, who was given a letter of no objection by police on Friday, said the march was intended to escalate pressure on law enforcement bodies after last weekend’s protest “had achieved preliminary results”.

“The action has scared away some parallel traders and mainland shoppers over the week,” she said. “But every year before Lunar New Year, parallel trading activities will become rampant and cause a huge nuisance to residents. We call on the police’s task force to take effective measures to deal with the problem.”

The party held a protest with similar demands last January, and Sunday’s event will be led by the party’s four district councillors, and residents’ groups concerned by parallel trading.

The organisers will hold an assembly in Sheung Shui No 1 Garden at 1.30pm, with the march expected to start at 2.30pm from Sheung Shui MTR station to San Wan Road, passing main streets where clusters of pharmacies and shops selling skincare products are situated.

Around 3,000 people are expected to take part in the march, organisers told police.

When asked how they would try to prevent the rally ending in clashes like last weekend, when hundreds of people went “shopping” in Landmark North and police ended up using pepper spray, Lam said the party would arrange about 100 marshals to help maintain control.

“We do not encourage participants to trash the shops and clash with shoppers from the mainland,” Lam said. “But, at the same time, we urge the police to show restraint in our peaceful demonstrations.”

She also hoped police would not end the march at short notice, as they did on New Year’s Day, saying it would only lead to protesters taking more radical action.

Meanwhile, the Civil Rights Observer group said all three of its members arrested during Wednesday’s unrest had been released on bail on Friday night, after being detained for two days.

It said their belongings including work uniforms, protective gear, smart phones and cameras had been taken by the police.
The group condemned police and called on the force to return all the items it had confiscated.
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