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Police stops holding of mass gatherings on May 1

28 April 2020

By The SUN

AMCB delegation at last year's May Day rally

The long-held tradition of marking International Labor Day on May 1 with massive protest marches across the globe has become the latest casualty from the coronavirus pandemic.

In Hong Kong, police announced today, Apr 28, that it has disallowed the holding of two public meetings and a public procession on May 1, saying that they’re deemed as high-risk activities amid the spread of the virus.

 “Police have grounds to believe that such activities do not only increase the risk of infecting participants and other people with Covid-19, but pose a serious threat to the lives and health of all citizens, jeopardising public safety and affecting the rights of others,” said a statement posted on the government website.

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In the same statement, the police warned against the holding of unauthorized assemblies, saying it is a crime for which those found guilty could be liable to five years’ imprisonment.

Despite this, local activists have held two spontaneous protests in the past two days. The first one yesterday was in Cityplaza in Taikoo Shing, while today's gathering was at IFC Mall in Central. Several protesters have been arrested for violating social distancing rules.
FDWs use the rally to focus on their unsafe work conditions

Foreign domestic workers who have long been a visible presence in the May Day rallies, on the other hand, are heeding the warning, and have come up with online gatherings instead.

Among them are members of the multi-ethnic group, Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, which has opted to hold a webinar from 11am to 1pm , with a panel made up of spokespersons Eni Lestari and Dolores Balladares, as well as local women’s rights activist Wu Mei Lin.

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The online seminar will include a sharing of migrant workers from different places – the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Macau.

Filipino workers’ groups have also been issuing statements protesting the implementation of jacked-up premiums for the state health insurance, PhilHealth.

Another concern is the attempt by Philippine labor officials to have a migrant worker critical of President Rodrigo Duterte deported from Taiwan.

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For the past several Sundays, AMCB and its allied organizations have also been going around Hong Kong to distribute face masks and hold a public information campaign on issues that affect workers’ rights.




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