Tens of thousands join vigil in Hong Kong to honor victims of Tiananmen

The pro-democracy memorial event attracted more attendees than expected with turnout reported between 40,000 and 100,000

The Hong Kong vigil held in honor of victims of th...

The Hong Kong vigil held in honor of victims of th... (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On the 29th anniversary of the crackdown on democratic protestors in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, over tens of thousands of people gathered in Hong Kong for a candle light vigil to remember the event on Monday, June 4.

The vigil ceremony happens every year in Hong Kong, and it serves to mourn the victims of Beijing’s brutal crackdown in 1989 and as a rally for the pro-democracy elements in the city, struggling against Beijing’s encroaching authoritarianism.

The vigil took place in Victoria Park, covering an area of nearly six football pitches, packed with citizens carrying white candles. The city echoed with chants of “End one-party dictatorship!” and “Building a democratic China!”

Leaders of the Democratic Alliance reportedly shared a few words at the Democracy Monument, before they laid flowers, and lit a flame asking the assembled crowd to observe a moment of silence for the victims of the 1989 crackdown.

Politician and leader of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements, Albert Ho, spoke at the event and introduced a video by the “Tiananmen Mothers” group, reports CNA.

SCMP reports that there were pro-Beijing protestors nearby the park claiming that the organizers were scamming people for money, and that no “massacre” ever occurred at Tiananmen square.

The Democratic Alliance issued a declaration at the event which emphasizes the need to resist Beijing’s political influence in Hong Kong, and insists that Beijing must end its One-Party dictatorship.

Hong Kong citizens at the vigil (CNA Image)

The declaration stated that the people would continue; to honor their commitment to those who died 29 years ago; to honor the life and legacy of Liu Xiaobo; to fight for the future of democracy in China, and in Hong Kong; and to remember the sacrifices others have made in the struggle” which the pro-democracy activists vowed to continue.

The declaration continues, with demands that Beijing must; renounce one-party rule; redress the crimes committed 29 years ago at Tiananmen Square; release all political prisoners; allow for the rehabilitation of the pro-democratic spirit that emerged in 1989, and perform a fair and thorough investigation into the crimes committed.

Following the memorial ceremony at Victoria Park, which ended around 10 p.m. activist groups began a march to the Chinese government liaison office in the Sai Wan area of the city. Hundreds of people reportedly made the march with them.

CNA reports that specific numbers for the events turnout have not been released, but that estimates range from 40 to 50 thousand people, while organizers have reportedly claimed over 100,000.

SCMP reports that numbers surpassed initial expectations, and that organizers are calling for a massive turnout next year to mark the 30th anniversary of the massacre.