06/21/2021, 09.43
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Hong Kong: July 1st march for democracy called off

It would be the first time since its launch in 2003. The organizers of the Civil Human Rights Front targeted by the police.  The League of Social Democrats thinks of street booths to demand the release of political prisoners.  The independent newspaper Apple Daily is likely to be closed in a few days.

 

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The traditional July 1st rally will not take place this year: it will be the first time since its launch in 2003. The announcement was made yesterday by the interim coordinator of the Civil Human Rights Front, an umbrella organization that brings together various democracy groups. 

Chung Chung-fai stressed that the decision was made due to the political situation in the city: it would be difficult for the Front to obtain authorization for the march, as the police accuse it of being an "unregistered" group.

The coordinator of the Civil Human Rights Front, Figo Chan, is now in prison.  He faces an 18-month sentence for organizing an anti-government demonstration on October 1, 2019.

Not even the restrictive measures for Covid-19 and the launch of the national security law had not blocked the march.  Last year, thousands of people challenged the bans by parading through the streets of the city.  The first march, on July 1, 2003, gathered 500,000 people: it was against an anti-subversion law proposed by the city executive of Tung Chee-hwa.

Chung has appealed to citizens to find other forms of protest on July 1st.  The League of Social Democrats said it would discuss the possibility of carrying out the march with other democratic groups.  An alternative solution is to set up street booths to promote the demands of the democratic front, including the release of all political prisoners.

Meanwhile, a collaborator of pro-democracy tycoon Jimmy Lai has revealed that Apple Daily is likely to close within days due to lack of funds.  Lai, owner of the independent newspaper, is in prison;  authorities have frozen 70% of its shares in Next Digital, the holding company that publishes the newspaper.  On June 17, National Security Police arrested five newspaper executives, including chief editor Ryan Law.  On the same day, authorities blocked Apple Daily assets worth HK $ 18 million (€ 1.9 million).  Immediately after the arrests, Next Digital suspended trading on the stock exchange.

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