1. Notification of public meetings
A notice of intention to hold a public meeting must be given in writing to the Commissioner of Police at least one week (i.e. no later than 11 a.m. on the same day of the week in the preceding week) before any public meeting is held. But the Commissioner of Police may accept a shorter notice if he is reasonably satisfied that an earlier notice could not be given.
The notice should include the name, address and telephone number of the organiser, the purpose of the meeting, the date, location, time of commencement and duration of the meeting, and an estimation of the number of people expected to attend the meeting.
In practice, upon receipt of the notice of intention to hold a public meeting, the police will write to enquire the details of the public meeting, such as:
- the nature of the organiser;
- the experience of the organiser to hold public meetings in the past;
- whether there would be co-organisers and their nature, experience of holding public meetings and roles in the proposed public meeting;
- the number of event marshals, their roles, identification marks (such as designated T-shirts) and the method to communicate with them;
- whether the press have been informed, and if so, the media reporting arrangement;
- whether amplifiers, banners and other demonstration materials would be used in the meeting and their size and number;
- whether there would be first aid and beverage supply stations;
- the theme or themes of the meeting;
- the method to estimate the number of people expected to attend the meeting;
- whether fundraising activities would take place, and if so, whether applications have been made to the relevant authorities;
- as regards the proposed venues, whether bookings have been made with the relevant authorities (such as the Leisure and Cultural Services Department) if required;
- any special arrangements under inclement weather conditions;
- whether the organiser has bought insurance to cover accidents during the meeting.
The organiser and the police may meet several times or correspond in writing for several rounds to confirm the details of the proposed meeting. The police may raise specific concerns which the organisers need to address in relation to issues of public order, public safety and the encroachment on rights and freedoms of others which the proposed meeting may bring about, before a Notice of No Objection will be issued.
The requirement of giving a written notice to the police for a public meeting does not apply to a meeting of less than 50 people, a meeting in private premises of less than 500 people and a meeting in any school if organised by and with the consent of an accredited society of an educational establishment.