HONG KONG, Oct 7 (AFP): The Hong Kong government said today it would designate areas to be used for demonstrations during the upcoming World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting.
The announcement came after one of the main protest organisers, the Hong Kong People's Alliance Against the WTO, threatened to pull out of arranging peaceful demonstrations if no agreement was reached soon.
The co-ordination group for some 10,000 local and global protesters expected here had also warned of potential hostility unless the police provided appropriate venues for their events.
The authorities agreed to make available to protesters two football pitches, a sporting ground and a cargo handling area near the venue for the WTO conference, set for December 13-18.
Meanwhile, the government said it would seal off a one-square- kilometer (0.4-square-mile) zone around the conference venue to ensure safety and public order.
"We are now making very detailed preparations for the conference. We are hopeful that with good communication and cooperation of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) concerned we will be able to achieve our common objectives, which is that all the demonstrations will be conducted in a very peaceful manner," said Janet Wong, head of the WTO coordination office.
Protest coordinator Chan Beng Seng said he was pleased with the government's decision.