Hong Kong police prepare for pro-democracy rally

HONG KONG – Some 2,000 police officers are to be deployed in Hong Kong for the territory’s first mass demonstration since last year’s pro-democracy protests, local media reported Saturday.

The police preparation for Sunday’s march comes amid the authorities’ concerns that demonstrators could attempt to block roads as they did during the 79-day Umbrella Movement protests between September and December, the South China Morning Post said.

Organisers expect around 50,000 people to take part in the event, which is supporting demands for "genuine universal suffrage" when the chief executive election is held in 2017.

Ahead of the rally, activists have hinted that an unauthorised sit-in may take place after the officially sanctioned rally, similar to an overnight protest in July last year that served as a rehearsal for road blockades later in the year.

"Police will take appropriate and necessary enforcement actions in case of any unlawful act," a police source told the Post.

The Civil Human Rights Front said it had recruited up to 70 marshals to help maintain order, short of the 100 the police have insisted on.

Tang Ping-keung, deputy regional police commander on Hong Kong Island, said police would not stop the march if the organiser failed to get 100 marshals.

"We will liaise with the organizers (and see) how those problems could be mediated," Tang said, according to the newspaper.

Police have ask the rally's organisers to help disperse people at the end of the rally but Johnson Yeung, the march’s chief marshal, said they would not stop people from doing as they wished.

Rally organizer Daisy Chan asked protesters to bring umbrellas to the march to bolster the spirit of the Umbrella Movement, as last year’s demonstrations became known.

"Umbrellas have represented our everyday persistence in demanding genuine universal suffrage," Chan said.

Seven pro-democracy groups - including the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism, two of the Umbrella Movement's leading groups - are supporting the march.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency