‘We are all Hong Kong people’: Civil servants seek police permission to hold anti-extradition law rally on Friday 2

, by CHENG Kris

A group of Hong Kong civil servants say they are planning to hold a peaceful rally on Friday 2. They will invite Chief Executive Carrie Lam and top officials to attend and respond to the anti-extradition law movement’s five demands.

The rally will be held between 7pm and 9pm at Chater Garden in Central.

Michael Ngan, one of the five civil servants who applied for a police letter of no objection, said he expected 2,000 to attend, and will arrange 50 to 80 marshalls to maintain order. He said he was confident that the police will approve, despite them banning a protest on Saturday and restricting a rally in Chater Garden on Sunday.

He said he noticed his civil servant colleagues had their own opinions over the extradition bill, the police use of force and the handling of the Yuen Long mob attacks.

Ngan, an officer at the Labour Department, said civil servants should remain politically neutral when serving the public, but it does not mean they cannot give opinions on political matters.

“When we take off our staff cards, take off our uniforms, we are all Hong Kong people,” he said.

He said he hoped the government would respond to the public’s five demands, including
- a complete withdrawal of the now-suspended bill,
- a retraction of the “riot” characterisation of the June 12 protests,
- an independent investigation into police behaviour
- an unconditional release of all arrested protesters,
- as well as the implementation of universal suffrage

Ngan said he was not concerned about potential punishment over him organising the rally as a civil servant, saying that any appraisal should be made on the basis of performance, and he has yet to receive any warnings.

“I hope civil servants can make an effort as well,” he said.

According to government rules, civil servants can participate in political activities that have no conflict with their roles. But principal officials, administrative officers, information officers and police officers cannot join any political activities.

Asked about online calls for a strike next Monday, Ngan said he noticed the plans but declined to comment over whether civil servants would join.

The rally call came after hundreds of civil servants signed petitions to urge the government to listen to the public.