For the first time in 30 years, Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square Massacre vigil has been banned by the Hong Kong police, citing the public gathering restrictions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the extension of COVID-19 restrictions last month, the authorities would also apply a ban on public gatherings of more than eight people on this candlelight memorial which are usually held on 4 June at Victoria Park, according to Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP).
Tthe organiser of the event, Richard Tsoi who is also the vice-chairman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China has received an objection letter to the planned assembly from the Hong Kong police on Monday (1 June).
The letter read, “Public assemblies are a high-risk activity due to large crowds gathering. Police believe that the event will not only increase participants’ chances of contracting the virus but also threaten citizens’ lives and health, thus endangering public safety and affecting the rights of others.”
Responding to the objection, the Chair of the Alliance Lee Cheuk-yan said that the members of alliance would convene in groups of eight to host the event on Thursday (4 June).
The organisers will light candles at Victoria Park and observe a minute of silence at 8:09 pm while the members will mourn individually in the park.
Mr Lee called on the members of public to light the candles in various districts across the city and take part in an online vigil as part of commemoration event.
He explained that each candlelight vigil is self-initiated and does not constitute an assembly.
The Tiananmen Square Massacre were student-led demonstrations in China that took place on 4 June 1989. During the massacre, the People’s Liberation Army was deployed to crack down on protesters in Beijing. It was eventually estimated hundreds to thousands of people were killed in the Tiananmen Square Massacre.