‘Police to deploy over 10,000 officers on July 1’

Sources have told RTHK that the police are planning to deploy more than 10,000 officers across the city on Thursday, to prevent the public from gathering on the streets on the 24th anniversary of the handover.

There will be a strong police presence in the vicinity of Victoria Park – where organisers of a march banned by the police, citing public health concerns, had originally planned to begin their protest.

An attempt by the organisers – the League of Social Democrats, Tin Shui Wai Connection and Save Lantau Alliance – to have the ban overturned was rejected by an appeal board on Tuesday.

RTHK has learned that the police’s deployment will be of a similar scale to that on June 4 this year, when scores of officers stopped people from entering Victoria Park to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

Sources said Victoria Park may be sealed off again, if the situation calls for it.

More officers will be on patrol and the force’s counter-terrorism response unit will also be mobilised, while other officers will be on standby.

With some pro-democracy groups saying they plan to set up street booths, the police will also be monitoring them for any breaches of the national security law, the public order ordinance, or the ban on public gatherings.

July 1 is traditionally a day when thousands of people march on Hong Kong Island to voice their demands on a range of issues.

But the Civil Human Rights Front, which organised the annual march, did not apply for permission to hold the protest this year, as its most prominent members are in prison over protests or alleged national security offences.

It is the second year the July 1 march has been banned by authorities, though hundreds of people still took to the streets to oppose the national security law in 2020.

In a statement, the Security Bureau warned people against taking part in unauthorised assemblies, saying the police will take serious action against anybody who tries to break the law.

A bureau spokesman said even though violent crimes have dropped sharply since the implementation of the national security law, “the risk of local terrorism remains”.

It cited the police’s arrest of two men on Tuesday, after seizing chemicals that could have been used to make gunpowder.

“With regard to any act that may occur on July 1 endangering public order and public safety, the Police will make an appropriate deployment and take resolute actions… The public should not defy the law,” the spokesperson said.
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Last updated: 2021-06-30 HKT 17:19