Hong Kong women’s march canceled after police meeting: organisers

HONG KONG: A women’s rights group in Hong Kong said on Wednesday it canceled a rare authorized protest after its representatives were repeatedly summoned to meetings with police.

The Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association (HKWWA) had been given permission to hold a demonstration on March 5 but was abruptly canceled the night before with no reason given.

On Wednesday, the group said “the police asked several times to meet us” after receiving permission for the march.

“The lawsuit was initially granted a clearance letter by the police,” HKWWA said in a statement.

“The association has tried its best to change the agreement with the police to allow the action to take place. However, the result was not what we had hoped for.

“We couldn’t hold the march and rally for women to speak up.”

Asked by AFP if they had pressured HKWWA, police said at a March 4 news conference that they “respected the organizers’ decision.”

Hong Kong had previously seen frequent public demonstrations and protests, but these ended after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in 2020 to stamp out widespread and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.

Group gatherings have also been banned for more than two years under protracted pandemic restrictions, which were eased in late 2022.

After the HKWWA canceled the women’s march, police said any participation would be considered a violation of unlawful assembly laws.

According to the organizers, “groups and citizens who supported us were also put under pressure and warned”.

These apparently included the left-wing League of Social Democrats, which said its members had been threatened with arrest by the national security police if they joined the march.

HKWWA vowed on International Women’s Day to continue fighting for gender equality and women’s labor rights.

“Our only choice is to move on and persevere: solidarity, mutual support, raising our voices.” -AFP

https://www.thesundaily.my/world/hong-kong-women-s-march-called-off-after-police-meetings-organisers-CE10726444 Hong Kong women’s march canceled after police meeting: organisers

Russell Falcon

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