OCLP urges police restraint and prompt government response to demands for genuine universal suffrage

OCLP urges police restraint and prompt government response to demands for genuine universal suffrage

 

Despite the cold and heartless way the government has dealt with the Occupy Movement, it has continued for more than two months. This reflects the steadfastness of the occupiers’ democratic aspirations. We respect the different decisions made by individual citizens, but we are deeply worried about the police’s stated intention to help enforce injunctions on Thursday, which is a cover for conducting clearance actions.

Over the past two months and more, citizens have seen the police tolerate the provocative actions of anti-Occupy forces while treating occupiers and their supporters brutally. Some officers have even used force on innocent passers-by – clearly an abuse of power. While we understand that it is the government’s error to place responsibility for solving a political issue onto the shoulders of the police, we think it is unacceptable for professional law enforcers to act in this way. It will only inflame public anger. In fact, every baton that hits the body of a protester is a body blow on each supporter of democracy in Hong Kong. We do not know when the bruises will fade but we do know that the people’s discontent and anger at the government is not going away!

Therefore, we urge the police to be calm, professional and restrained when they clear the Admiralty site. They must not use force on peaceful protesters or readily use their batons to disperse occupiers. If they must carry out arrests, they must not resort to carrying out extra-legal punishment.

According to the standards of international human rights, the presence of journalists and human rights observers must be allowed in situations where human rights may be violated, especially when force is to be used. We urge the police to respect the monitoring role of independent groups and to not obstruct or impede their work.

The original intention of the Occupy Movement is to gain democracy through peaceful and non-violent means. We hope those who stay at the occupied sites will remember this original intention and not give opponents cause to besmirch the movement or the police an excuse to use force.

Hundreds of thousands of citizens took part in the Occupy Movement – demonstrating their accomplishment and perseverance in fighting for democracy. Even if the police clear away the road blocks and people from the occupied sites, they cannot clear away the people’s determination to struggle for democracy. They are merely deepening the split in our society and the struggle will continue in days to come.

Political issues must be solved through political means. The Chief Executive must answer the people’s demands. If the government carries on as it has done in the past, with blanket propaganda and forcing through of a fake universal suffrage package in the Legislative Council, the current distorted electoral system will continue. Injustice will continue to erode Hong Kong society and destroy the stable development of Hong Kong.

10 December 2014