2. Notification of public processions
A notice of intention to hold a public procession 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 procession 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.
A notice of the intention to hold a public procession held solely for the purposes of a funeral at which the body is present must be given in writing at least 24 hours before the forming of the procession.
The notice should include the name, address and telephone number of the organiser and the connected organisation, the purpose and subject-matter of the procession, the date, precise route, time of commencement and duration of the procession, the location, time of commencement and duration of any meeting to be held in conjunction with the procession, and an estimation of the number of people expected to attend the procession.
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 procession, such as:
- the nature of the organiser;
- the experience of the organiser to hold public processions in the past;
- whether there would be co-organisers and their nature, experience of holding public processions and roles in the proposed public procession;
- 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 procession;
- the method to estimate the number of people expected to attend the procession;
- whether fundraising activities would take place, and if so, whether applications have been made to the relevant authorities;
- as regards the proposed route, whether relevant authorities (such as the Transport Department or the Highways Department) have been informed and coordination arrangements made;
- 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 procession may bring about, before a Notice of No Objection will be issued.
A notice of intention to hold a public procession is not required if the public procession consists of less than 30 people, does not take place on a public highway or thoroughfare, or in a public park.