Lawmaker complains police quash freedom of assembly

democrat lawmaker Au Kam San has accused the police authority of arbitrarily suppressing the civil rights of people in Macau, in particular, the right to organize assemblies and demonstrations.
In his recent interpellation submitted to the government, Au complained about the local police authority’s recent banning of several public assemblies, having stated that the police authority abused its power and misinterpreted legal provisions.
“Recently, the Macau police authority has banned the conduct of a number of assemblies on the grounds that certain gatherings were a violation of the law. This arbitrary interpretation of the law and of the assembly clearly intends to reduce the space for Macau people to exercise their civil rights,” said Au.
“We believe that the civil rights and the freedom of Macau people cannot be lost due to a one-time event outside of Macau,” wrote Au.
Au used the example of the police authority’s rejection of a demonstration at the Senado Square on August 19, and the three assemblies of which the police authority recently received notice. All these demonstrations mentioned by Au, which opposed police abuse of power in the neighboring territory of Hong Kong, ended up being interpreted as demonstrations whose “purpose is violating the law.”
The Court of Final Appeal recently ruled to uphold the police decision to ban the assemblies, citing as justification the motifs expressed by them, which the authorities had deemed incompatible with the law.
“Using [the justification that] ‘the purpose goes against the law’ to ban or to reject assemblies or demonstration notifications never happened before the handover. It appears now that Macau people’s civil rights is being suppressed,” Au accused.
The lawmaker asked the government whether or not the police authority should interpret the law in a specific way so as to increase restrictions on the exercise of assembly and demonstration rights.
The lawmaker wants the police authority to explain why it has considered opposing the actions of police in Hong Kong as a “demonstration that violates the purpose of law.”
“Presently, the police authority can prohibit assemblies or demonstrations on grounds of all sorts of strange and unspeakable reasons. Is it setting up a censorship system that is completely incompatible with the legal provision [suggesting there is no need to attain permission to organize demonstrations or assemblies]?” questioned Au. “Isn’t such police law enforcement an abuse of power?”

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