Press Release by Occupy Central with Love & Peace (issued on 25.9.2014)

OCLP Press Release

“Civil disobedience is the fight against injustice. We are fearless in front of violence and will not strike back,” said Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man, the Occupy Central with Love and Peace organizers, in today’s press conference on the verge of occupation. They called for participants of civil disobedience to adhere to the principle of non-violent resistance.

Today OCLP released a manual of disobedience that explains the philosophy and principles of peaceful disobedience, and provides legal guidance on which particular laws participants could be violating and how to protect personal rights on arrest. It also gives detailed recommendations on how participants should be equipped prior to the occupation. The manual has been uploaded to the OCLP website. (link)

OCLP has put forward eight rules of non-violent resistance. Specifically, in the face of law enforcers and anti-occupy demonstrators, participants should never hurt anyone physically or mentally, or damage any properties. To ensure the safety of the assembly and the effective dissemination of information in the case of emergency, participants should not bring any loudspeakers or large banners that may block the views. According to Chan Kin-man, any participant who deliberately violates the principle of non-violence will first be advised by the picket team to calm down and, if this does not work, asked to leave the assembly. He further said that there are backup plans to change the leadership should all three organizers be arrested.

Benny Tai pointed out that Occupy Central participants could be violating the Public Order Ordinance and the Summary Offences Ordinance. However, British judge Lord Hoffmann once made the following comments in a case: “Civil disobedience on conscientious grounds has a long and honourable history …. It is the mark of a civilized community that it can accommodate protests and demonstrations of this kind.”

It is hard to predict how long the occupy action will last. Chan Kin-man recommended participants to prepare enough food for two to three days. Also listed under the outfit and gear section in the manual are backup batteries and protective goggles against pepper spray.

On the day of occupation, a large number of professionals are expected to offer support to the participants. About 160 medical personnel, including 30 doctors, will be providing medical assistance. An 80-person emotion support team, 90% of which are registered social workers, together with a clinical psychologist, will be working closely with the medical team. For people who are arrested, there is a team of 160 registered social workers providing emotional counseling and another 120 people providing administrative support such as collecting personal particulars for the lawyers. It is also understood that a large number of lawyers are prepared to offer legal support on a personal basis.

Benny said that each participant can submit their personal information to a hotline set up by the organizer via SMS prior to being arrested. 

Chan Kin-man said civil seminars will be held throughout the assembly where participants can “quietly reflect on what each of us can do for Hong Kong in the post-occupy era.”