The “Run for Peace and Democracy” event took place this morning at 7:30am to kick-off a day of anti-Occupy Central protests. Organisers have claimed more than 1,500 took part in the run this morning, while police announced only around 880 participated.
Robert Chow Yung refuted accusations that organisers had anything to do with large amounts of restaurants being fully booked just before the afternoon march. He claimed it was a natural phenomenon on a Sunday in Causeway Bay but stayed short of ruling out other organisations taking part in the march being responsible. He also responded to rumours that participants in the afternoon would be compensated financially. “We saw the rumours on the internet but when we called the phone number it turned out to be fake. It could possibly be just someone trying to create something fake. Anyone could send out a Whatsapp message!” Screencaps of Whatsapp conversations offering money up to $400 surfaced in the build up to the march.
Many runners HT spoke to commented that they were against the assumed nature of Occupy Central on Hong Kong’s economy. When asked if they were against a “sieved” universal suffrage, many expressed that it should be expected and thought it was good enough. One runner said he thought it was normal for organisers to “buy” participants for the afternoon march. Another runner said she was against Occupy Central, but would not sacrifice either peace or democracy.
A number of senior groups were seen dropped off at the venue to take part in hone flower dedication ceremony. Former Secretary of Justice, Elsie Leung Oi-sie also showed up for the ceremony but refused to comment on the event.