On 4 June, the 31st anniversary of Tiananmen was remembered in a very different way here in Hong Kong. The Government had refused the organisers permission to hold the annual event in Victoria Park, insisting that no more than eight people can gather together because of the virus.
The organisers responded by defying the ban and still gathered in their thousands in Victoria Park. They also for the first time initiated dozens of other gatherings in different parts of the city.
In the past few years, some radical protestors have drifted away from the 4 June commemorations and criticised the organisers for continuing with the same old-fashioned format. Others have focused on self-determination for Hong Kong rather than the struggle against the Chinese Communist Party’s one-party dictatorship and against the “counter-revolutionary” verdict of 31 years ago.
This year, there was a clear sense of unity, with protestors holding different views rallying together to defy the ban.
The HK police chose to ignore the clear breach of social distancing regulations and did not arrest the organisers for staging an illegal assembly. Many of the pro-democracy leaders had already been charged with unlawful assembly for their participation in last June’s protests.
12 June will be the first anniversary of the million strong demonstration that derailed the government’s introduction of an extradition law, and the Government has refused permission for a march and rally, again on Covid-19 grounds.
Organisers have stated that the march will take place on the first day that the Government lifts the “no more than 8” rule, expected to be later in June.
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