Macau, China, 23 Aug – A total of about 500 Areia Preta residents staged two separate demonstrations Sunday to protest against the setting-up of columbaria – places for the public storage of urns holding cremated remains – and similar facilities in residential buildings.
According to the Macau Post Daily the protesters demanded that the government regulate the controversial columbarium matter as soon as possible, including the setting-up of ancestral tablets and large public shrines at residential buildings.
The long-running controversy flared up earlier this month when residents of the U Wa residential estate in Areia Preta protested against the opening of a columbarium or hall for ancestral tablets at their building complex by a Fujianese community association.
The residents shouted out slogans and carried banners demanding that the government "Quickly legislate, put citizens’ worries at ease!" and "Oppose opening large shrines in residential areas!"
U Wa residents’ representative Chan Sok Chan told reporters that the protesters were not just against columbaria in residential buildings but also opposed the large public shrines and ancestral tablet halls being set up in residential buildings.
According to the Public Security Police (PSP), about 490 protestors joined both demonstrations, but the protest organizers said that there both protests drew a combined number of about 600 demonstrators.
The government’s deputy spokesman Victor Chan Chi Ping promised last Friday that the government would not allow the setting-up of columbaria at residential buildings.