Senado Square assembly called off by police

An assembly at Senado Square in central Macau called for Monday August 19 has been refused authorization by the Public Security Police Force (PSP) for “not being according to the law,” a PSP spokesperson informed the media yesterday during the daily joint press conference of police forces.

According to the PSP, “the new Public Assembly and Demonstration Law establishes that authorities may not allow public assemblies and demonstrations that are considered to be in violation of the law.”

The PSP used this argument to refuse the authorization of the silent protest planned for Monday evening at Senado Square, stating that it was “in view of the recent clashes in Hong Kong, [where] some of the radical demonstrators have violated Hong Kong laws and seriously affected social order and the rule of law.”

News of the protest began with a poster spread on social media. The poster described the August 19 activity as “legitimate, rational and peaceful,” and there were would be no “blue or yellow political opinions” in the protest.

Although the information included on the poster noted that the purpose of the assembly was to “condemn the violence used by the police forces in Hong Kong,” the PSP said that during their review of the application, authorities considered that the purpose of the assembly might be to “support law violating activities and that by allowing such event to happen this might cause others [in Macau] to follow the same path of law violation.”

On Wednesday, the planned assembly garnered attention from the Macau Jiangmen Youth Association who held an event for the delivery of a petition to the government calling for the non-authorization of the event.

At the time of the delivery of the letter, association member and lawmaker Zheng Anting explained that the request for a protest of the issue could cause “disruption to Macau’s stability and prosperity.”

According to Zheng, “Macau’s harmonious and stable prosperity depends on the full support of the central government and the joint efforts of the people of Macau,” sufficient cause to request the rejection of the assembly under the terms of Article 23 of the Macau Basic Law, or the National Security Laws.

The marking of a circular area around the Senado Square Fountain, which was nominated as the location for the assembly, also raised questions yesterday.

Although it was not clear whether the cordoned off area was related to the protest, Law 11/2018, which promotes amendments to the Law 2/93/M, assures the right of the police chief to establish limitations on the time and space of protests., The police chief is responsible for authorizing protests.

As the PSP spokesperson reminded the public at yesterday’s press conference, should people decide to go against the decision – and assemble in the square anyway – they will be committing the crime of “aggravated disobedience” with a penal framework of up to two years of imprisonment or 240 days of fines.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the call for the protest activity. New Macau Association issued a statement to clarify that the gathering was neither called for by the association nor by democrat legislator Sulu Sou.

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