E-voucher protest march axed due to Covid-19 risk; police nab 12 people
Dozens turn out in Praça do Tap Seac despite ban on gathering due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Police took 12 people in for questioning after they turned out in Praça do Tap Seac to protest against the controversial e-voucher scheme yesterday.
The protest march had been called off because it would have breached the government’s Covid-19 prevention rules, but many gathered anyway.
The dozen were taken away for questioning after ignoring police orders to disperse. No criminal complaints have been filed so far, according to a Public Security Police (PSP) officer, who said that 11 had left the police station after questioning, while one had been taken to hospital after becoming “emotional”.
The protest had initially been green-lighted by the authorities. However, a meeting between the Health Bureau (SSM), the PSP and the organisers resulted in the demonstration’s cancellation for health and safety reasons.
The SSM said that the organisers couldn’t guarantee the number of protestors, nor that they didn’t have fever, that they would wear face masks during the march and that they would socially distance during the protest.
According to the Macau Post Daily, one of the organisers, non-establishment lawmaker Au Kam San told the media that he and his co-organisers decided not to go ahead with the march as they were keen to avoid “misunderstandings” and wanted to make sure that no-one would be accused by the authorities of holding an illegal gathering.
The protest was organised by legislators Au Kam San and Ng Kuok Cheok with the support of the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association. About 500 people were originally expected to join the march from Tap Seac to the government headquarters in Nam Van.
The protesters planned to demonstrate against the government’s third-round of financial support measures during the Covid-19 pandemic, claiming that its proposed e-voucher scheme was “too complicated.” The Chief Executive has since apologised for the “confusion” that the scheme had caused.