A human chain of freedom is planned in Hong Kong on Friday, together with at least four more demonstrations over the weekend.
A group of online citizens on LIHKG, a local online forum, said they were inspired by the Baltic Way when two million people joined hands to form a human chain spanning several hundred kilometers across the states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in a peaceful political stunt against Soviet rule in 1989.
With August 23 marking the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way, citizens want to stage a “Hong Kong Way” with a human chain formed in the city to reiterate the five demands local protesters have been calling for but the government has yet to agree to.
Campaigners have advised people to assemble at 7pm at various MTR stations on three subway lines – Shau Kei Wan to Kennedy Town (13km) on Hong Kong Island Line, Whampao to Mei Foo on Tsuen Wan Line (7km) and Yau Tong to Sham Shui Po (12.6km) on Kwun Tong Line.
The campaign will start at 8pm, with the goal of getting people to hold hands on pavements joining the three MTR lines, and then end an hour later. The organizers emphasized that it would be a peaceful demonstration with no clashes or marches.
Meanwhile, “Jam with Us”, another campaign initiated by an online citizen could be more disruptive. It calls for traffic “stress tests” on the airport on Saturday from 7am to 11am. It has suggested that citizens ride buses, the Airport Express, taxis and the Tung Chung MTR line to the airport to overload the transport system, while people with cars could drive along main roads to the airport.
The Hong Kong Airport Authority obtained a court injunction to prevent people from disrupting flights following chaos and clashes on August 12 and 13. But the injunction order will expire on Friday.
And two more marches are scheduled on the weekend. One is a march in Kwun Tong, which received a green light from the police after the planned routed was revised. Marchers will assemble at 1pm at Tsun Yip Street Playground and walk to the Zero Carbon Building in Kowloon Bay via Hoi Bun Road.
The march will urge the government to respond to the five demands, as well as to make people aware of potential privacy issues arising from the government’s ‘smart lampposts’ initiative.
The government said in July that it has installed 50 ‘smart lampposts’ in Kowloon Bay, Kai Tak district, plus in Kwun Tong city center. But the move has raised concerns that they might be used for surveillance as the lamppost cameras could facilitate facial recognition software.
‘Only city data’
On Thursday, the government issued a statement which reiterated that the ‘smart lampposts’ are only used for collecting ‘city data’ about traffic, meteorological and air quality information to facilitate ‘smart city’ development through the upcoming 5G technology.
The ‘smart lampposts’ do not carry any facial recognition function and cannot detect or read information on people’s identity cards, it said.
Then on Sunday, a march is planned to start at 3pm in Kwai Fong and go to Tsuen Wan in the New Territories, if police permit it.
Meanwhile, two rallies will be organized by Christians on Friday and Saturday nights in Chater Garden in Central.