- Show the world how the city can protest peacefully, police commissioner Chris Tang tells the public
- Tang says organisers must be proactive in condemning any violence that breaks out during anti-government event on Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong's police chief has appealed to protesters joining a mass protest approved for Sunday to reject violence as he called on organisers to be proactive in condemning disorder if it breaks out.
Police have signed off a march and rally organised by the Civil Human Rights Front " which is behind the city's largest anti-government demonstrations " for the first time since August.
Chris Tang Ping-keung, who was promoted to police commissioner last month, is expected to be in charge of operations on Sunday following his scheduled return that morning from his first official trip to Beijing.
He warned on Friday the force would intervene if protesters ignored his pleas for a "peaceful and orderly" demonstration this weekend.
The mass rally and march on Sunday is the first organised by the front to secure permission from police since August 18.
The force has rejected several applications in recent months for the pro-democracy group's events, on the grounds of public safety and the risk of violence.
"Police have rarely objected to public rallies since the handover of Hong Kong (in 1997). But since June, whenever there have been large-scale public order events, there were violent protesters or mobs hijacking (the protests) and committing illegal acts," said Tang, who pointed to the hurling of petrol bombs, blocking roads and arson as examples of criminality.
Major anti-government rally and march get Hong Kong police permission
"We hope the violent groups can stop for a while, and stop their illegal acts, while our fellow citizens are catching their breath," Tang added.
"And I hope the marchers can show the whole city, or the whole world, that we are able to participate in a rally peacefully and orderly."
He said while Hong Kong had been "relatively peaceful" over the last two weeks, radicals reappeared last Sunday to cause mayhem, in reference to an approved march from Tsim Sha Tsui to Hung Hom that descended into chaos.
Tang warned police would step in if there was violence. He appealed to the front to assist and cooperate with officers on Sunday, adding: "I hope they will be courageous and condemn violent acts, if they happen."
The march is due to set off from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay at 3pm, ending in Chater Road, Central.
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It was approved with conditions on Thursday, including that police will stop the march if public order is under threat.
The front is expected to announce more details of the march and rally on Friday afternoon.
The pro-democracy group, led by Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, has been behind some of the biggest protests since the political crisis began in June, including one on June 16 which drew an estimated 2 million people.
During his two-day trip to Beijing, Tang is due to meet senior officials from the Ministry of Public Security and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.
Tang said they would be briefed on the latest crime situation in Hong Kong, and matters relating to policing issues in the "mutual interest" would also be discussed, without elaborating.
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Hong Kong has been racked by nearly six months of anti-government protests, which have often descended into violence and paralysed the city's transport system.
What started out earlier this year as peaceful protests triggered by the now-withdrawn extradition bill have developed into a wider anti-government movement, with increasingly violent clashes between police and protesters, as well as among residents.
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