By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
At least two local grassroots associations are planning to march on the streets this Friday, but they have emphasised that the protests are not to spoil the Chinese National Day celebration nor harm the image of Macau.
The Public Security Police (PSP) confirmed to the Macau Daily Times yesterday that so far one association, the Macau Association of Workers and the Power of People’s Livelihood, has informed them about their intent to protest on Friday. The police spokeswoman said they have not yet met with the association and therefore could not disclose the route.
Meanwhile, chairman of the Macau Workers Self-Help Association, Cheong Weng Fai, told the MDT that they have also submitted a letter to the PSP yesterday morning, as the Portuguese language newspaper Ponto Final reported.
According to Lee Sio Kuan, chairman of the Macau Association of Workers and the Power of People’s Livelihood, around 200 members from his association will join the protest that will begin at the Triangle Garden in Areia Preta at 3 pm, and end at the Government Headquarters.
Lee said they will demand the Government solve the housing problems in Macau, enhance the legal system and also reduce the number of seats for the indirectly-elected and Chief Executive-appointed lawmakers, respectively from 10 to eight and from seven to five.
The four spare seats should then be added to the direct legislative election, bringing the total directly-elected lawmakers to 16.
In addition, Lee told the MDT that he did not plan to go through San Ma Lou, as “the Central Government has attached great importance to Macau’s livelihood issues nowadays, and as long as we can come out to the streets [to protest] then is okay”.
When asked why he chose to stage the protest on the National Day, he said it is a public holiday and thus allows more people to participate in it.
He also pointed out that Macau people’s livelihood is “certainly more important than preserving the image of Macau,” adding that since the Ao Man Long corruption scandal “Macau has already got no image at all”.
The Macau Workers Self-Help Association plans to start their demonstration at 2.30 pm also at the Triangle Garden and intends to arrive at the Government Headquarters via San Ma Lou.
Cheong Weng Fat told the MDT that they chose to hold the protest on Friday because of the “strong demand from local people”.
It is expected that around 300 members of the association will show up, and 200 of them will be going with their scooters to protest against the lack of legal parking spaces in Macau.
Cheong said that a rally demonstrates “democracy and freedom” in a place and thus will not harm the international image of Macau.
He also claimed that his association has collected more than 10,000 signatures from the public, demanding Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda Chan step down.
Once 30,000 signatures are collected they will be delivered to the Government to urge action, he added.