TUI late to respond to vigil cancellation appeal

The organizers of the annual June 4 vigil, headed by lawmaker Au Kam San, say that the appeal filed to the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) regarding the decision of the Public Security Police Force (PSP) to ban the event has gone unanswered for seven days. The court is required to communicate a final decision to the organizers within five calendar days, as stated by Article 12 of Law 16/2008.
The vigil, which aims to keep alive the memory of the occurrences at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on this day in 1989, was initially banned after health authorities expressed the opinion that it could put public health at risk.
On a previous occasion, Dr. Alvis Lo from Conde de São Januário Medical Center, speaking on behalf of health authorities, said that since the beginning of the outbreak, the authorities have recommended that citizens avoid all types of gatherings. This, he said, justifies the decision of the PSP on the vigil.
Lo refused to advance any further comments regarding the case of this particular event, nor regarding the fact that Macau has not detected any cases for one and half months.
The same health authorities have continuously reaffirmed during the daily press conferences of the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center that all cases detected in Macau (45) were either imported cases (43) or, in two cases, people in close contact with the imported cases. This has been used to justify the claim that “there was no outbreak of Covid-19 in the community.”
Legally, civil assemblies and protests do not require an application for permission, although the authorities have the right to make special arrangements for various reasons.
In the appeal presented to the TUI, Au pointed out that there are no legal grounds on which the authorities can ban a legal civil event.
According to the lawmaker, the PSP denied approval for the event, citing Article 3 of the Law on Prevention and Control of Contagious Diseases, which states that “individuals and public or private entities have the obligation to legally cooperate closely with the entities in-charge” on matters related with the prevention of and response to outbreaks.
In his appeal to the TUI last Thursday, Au opposed the decision of the police, citing Article 2 of Law 2/93/M, which reads: “Without prejudice to the right to criticize, shall not be allowed assemblies and protests with purposes contrary to the law.”
Furthermore, the lawmaker also noted that the police authorities, while making use of the Law on Prevention and Control of Contagious Diseases, did not explain how the vigil would violate such stipulations, adding that the organizers had all intentions of cooperating with adjustments and guidelines provided by public entities.

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