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Protesters Defy China’s Attempt To Ban Hong Kong’s Tiananmen Vigil

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 04 Jun 2020 19:03
Protesters Defy China's Attempt To Ban Hong Kong's Tiananmen VigilProtesters Defy China's Attempt To Ban Hong Kong's Tiananmen VigilPA Images

Thousands of residents in Hong Kong have flouted a government ban in order to attend candle lit gatherings for the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.

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Protesters even knocked down barriers set up by police officers around Victoria Park, in a bid to attend the mass vigil.

The vigil was banned this year as a result of social distancing rules put in place in a bid to stop the spreading of the coronavirus.

Protesters Defy China's Attempt To Ban Hong Kong's Tiananmen VigilProtesters Defy China's Attempt To Ban Hong Kong's Tiananmen VigilPA Images

The Tiananmen Square crackdown vigil is an annual event which honours the pro-democracy protesters who lost their lives on June 4, 1989, when troops opened fire, killing several thousand.

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While the Chinese government very rarely mentions the mass killing, or the vigils, Hong Kong and Macau are the only parts of China permitted to mark the anniversary.

Ordinarily, tens of thousands of people gather in Hong Kong to remember the victims, however it’s reported that 3,000 riot police would be sent to prevent unplanned gatherings.

Protesters who gathered at Victoria Park are said to have chanted pro-democracy chants, including ‘stand with Hong Kong’ and ‘end one party rule’ in reference to China’s Communist Party’s monopoly rule over the country.

Protesters Defy China's Attempt To Ban Hong Kong's Tiananmen VigilProtesters Defy China's Attempt To Ban Hong Kong's Tiananmen VigilPA Images

Meanwhile, many other candle lit vigils began popping up elsewhere in Hong Kong, with thousands gathering in Mong Kok district, where police are reported to have used pepper spray to disperse crowds.

BBC News reports that police made several arrests at the event, making it the first time there had been unrest at a Tiananmen vigil in Hong Kong.

While groups of eight are currently allowed to gather together under Hong Kong rules, police did say that if different groups gathered in the same place for a ‘common purpose’, they would be moved along.

Protesters Defy China's Attempt To Ban Hong Kong's Tienanmen VigilProtesters Defy China's Attempt To Ban Hong Kong's Tienanmen VigilPA Images
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The 1989 Tiananmen Square protests were student led and began on April 15, continuing right through until the government declared martial law on June 4, deploying the military to occupy central Beijing.

The military used tanks and assault rifles to fire at protesters killing between several hundreds to several thousands, and injury many more thousands.

Today’s protests come after a controversial new law came in in Hong Kong, making it illegal to insult the Chinese national anthem.

Protesters Defy China's Attempt To Ban Hong Kong's Tiananmen VigilProtesters Defy China's Attempt To Ban Hong Kong's Tiananmen VigilPA Images

When the legislation was approved, two of the legislators had to be removed by security after they threw a nasty smelling liquid on the chamber floor in protest over China’s increasing control over Hong Kong.

Tensions could be set to raise even higher as China draws up a new security law for Hong Kong.

Rest in peace to all those who lost their lives while fighting for democracy.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: News, China, Hong Kong, Now, Pro-Democracy, Protests, Tiananman Square Massacre

Credits

BBC News
  1. BBC News

    Hong Kong: Tens of thousands defy ban to attend Tiananmen vigil