Hong Kong police reject application for May Day march
Nicolle Liu in Hong Kong Hong Kong police rejected an application to hold a demonstration on May 1, citing public health and security risks, as authorities around the world are restricting public gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, a pro-democracy labour group, planned a march on May 1, Labour day, to express discontent with the government relief measures in a continuation of anti-government protests that began last year. The group suggested the march to be held in groups of four people maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres between them, the government’s recommended social-distancing measures. Police rejected the application, noting that “public meetings and processions are high-risk activities” that would increase chances of spreading Covid-19 infections. The protest would pose a “serious threat to the lives and health of all citizens, jeopardizing public safety and affecting the rights of others”. Carol Ng, the confederation chairperson, criticised the decision, saying police were using the pandemic to “suppress all people’s rights of expression”. She said the group would appeal against the decision. “It is very clearly political censorship,” she said. Hong Kong announced no new confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Friday, keeping the tally at 1,035 cases with four fatalities. Small protests have persisted throughout the coronavirus lockdown, such as the one pictured in a shopping mall on Friday.