Macau | Protest law should be revised in its entirety - legislators

Despite approving some changes to the current protest law, some legislators of the 1st standing committee asked the government to revise the entire law so that the locations in which protestser or gatherings can take place is clearer to the residents

Macau (MNA) – After four meetings, the Legislative Assembly (AL) 1st standing committee issued their final assessment of a government bill to change the current protest law, however some committee members asked the government to conduct a full revision of the law.

According to some legislators, the Court of Final Instance (TUI) has made several contradictory decisions in regard to which locations protests can take place or in what conditions, and therefore the current law should be revised to clarify these issues.

Current regulations allow demonstrators directly file an appeal to the the top court without needing legal counsel, payment of extra fees, or to provide a comprehensive petition if they think that their rights to protest had been infringed.

“The use of certain spaces for protests requires prior notification but according to some TUI decisions in one place several activities can take place but other decisions say the opposite and ask that other locations need to be found for the activity. Some decisions say public lanes can be used, other don’t. There’s different decisions for the same issue, and this should be solved with a general revision of the law,” the committee chairman Ho Ion Sang said after the meeting.

The legislator said that the government responded that in the case it decides to review the full protest law it will consult the public, but that the main purpose of the current proposed changes is only to change the administrative responsibility of approving protest or gatherings from the Civil and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) to the Public Security Police Force (CPSP).

The proposed changes if approved would mandate that protest organisers have to directly notify police authorities diabout any protests or gatherings rather than having to go through the IACM.

If the AL approves the changes, police will also be allowed to restrict protests in four new locations, namely the Public Prosecutor Office, the Chinese Liaison Office of Macau, People’s Liberation Army Macau Garrison and the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (FMCORPC).