About 3,000 people took part in a march Sunday in Hong Kong to mark the upcoming 26th anniversary of China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy activists, according to the rally organizer.
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China said the group will continue to stage protests in memory of the victims of the June 4, 1989 crackdown that took place in Beijing.
As Hong Kong is the only place within China where people are able to hold such commemorations, it is important that a message be sent out to mainland authorities, Ming Pao Daily News quoted the group’s chairman Albert Ho as saying.
Hong Kong police, meanwhile, have disputed the claims of the alliance with regard to the public participation in Sunday’s march.
According to the police, only about 920 people took part in the rally, less than half that seen last year.
The May 31 rally, which began from Southorn Playground in Wan Chai and concluded at China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong in the Western District, took two hours to complete.
The Alliance called on all citizens to unite in seeking democracy and demanding Beijing to repudiate the June 4 incident.
Slogans calling for genuine universal suffrage could be heard from protest participants, made up of people young and old, despite the hot and humid weather, Ming Pao reported.
Some parents brought their children along, and some were seen holding aloft yellow umbrellas, which have became potent symbols of the pro-democracy campaign following the Occupy movement last year.
As the rally was in progress, members from some other local groups protested against the Alliance, calling on it to leave Hong Kong alone and take its fight to the mainland. Some people even raised slogans branding the Alliance as a “terrorist” association.
Commenting on the chants directed at them, Ho said it is good proof that Hong Kong is an open society where different opinions can be accommodated.
The Alliance can handle any provocation as long as it is only verbal, he said.
Ho believes many more people will turn up for the annual June 4 vigil.
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