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Protesters gather for Jun 4 vigil in Victoria Park, defying police ban

04 June 2020

By The SUN

Thousands defied the police ban to join this year's commemoration of the June 4th event (photos from RTHK)

Thousands of people gathered in Victoria Park tonight to hold the annual candlelight vigil in remembrance of those who died in the June 4 crackdown on dissent in Beijing’s Tienanmen Square in 1989.

The yearly event pushed through even after the police rejected an application for the mass gathering, citing social distancing regulations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s the biggest show of force by pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong since China’s National People’s Congress passed a controversial security bill for the Special Administrative Region last week.

Local media reports say members of the traditional organizer, the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, lit the first candles by 6:30pm by a water fountain in the park.
 
Protesters, both young and old, observed social distancing during the vigil

By 8pm, the small crowd of about a hundred people grew into the thousands, with more people streaming in from everywhere to fill the two football pitches in the park.

Shortly afterwards, a minute of silence was called to remember those who died in the Tienanmen crackdown.
Police stayed in the perimeters of the park, and continuously broadcast messages warning of arrest for those who violate the prohibition against the gathering of more than eight people, but made no moves to stop the crowd from streaming in.

Alliance chair Lee Cheuk-yan defiantly led chants for the vindication of the 1989 pro-democracy movement, and oppose the security law that Beijing had crafted for Hong Kong.
 
Lee (with microphone) urged people to chant slogans to call for democracy in HK and China
“Vindicate June 4th! End to one party rule! Democracy in China now!” were among their chants.

Inside the park, protesters are seen to make an effort to keep distance between them, so as to comply with the anti-Covid regulation.

But many of those who took part said they had to make their voices heard, despite the looming crackdown from Beijing.


Among them was Han Dongfang, a labour leader who landed in China’s most wanted list after taking part in the Tienanmen protests, and is now a Hong Kong resident.

A report in the South China Morning Post quoted Han as saying, “Victoria Park is an important place. When there is a public gathering, I have to come.”
  
Lee vowed to continue organizing the commemoration even after the security law is passed, and called on Hong Kong people not to give up their fight for democracy.

“We will fight on, and we will let the world know we Hong Kong people will not give up our freedom,” he said.

By 8:45pm, he and the other organizers announced the end of the vigil, and most people started leaving in an orderly manner.

Less than two hours later, however, there were reports of another violent clash in Mong Kok between protesters and the police.




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