Court clash over access rules for Civic Square

Local | 3 Mar 2016

Civic Square is not a public or open space, a senior administrative officer in the Chief Secretary's Office told Eastern Magistrates' Court yesterday as he denied restrictions on holding public events at the square hindered protesters from voicing their opinions to government officials.

David Chiu Yin-wa, responsible for security and facilities at the government headquarters in Tamar, was testifying on the third day of the trial of student leaders linked to September 26, 2014, protests that saw activists climb gates surrounding Civic Square, a courtyard outside the headquarters.

Scholarism convener Joshua Wong Chi-fung, 19, denies one count of inciting others to join and one count of taking part in an unlawful assembly. Nathan Law Kwun-chung, 22, denies inciting others to join and Alex Chow Yong-kang, 25, of the Federation of Students, denies taking part in an unlawful assembly.

Chiu said the square cannot be booked for public events on weekdays since government operations will be disrupted.

The defense questioned arrangements for the square, which is available for bookings for public events only on Sundays and weekends, and do not favor protesters voicing opinions to government officials.

The hearing continues today.

ADELINE MAK

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