Hong Kong democracy activists trying to keep the June 4 vigil alive are pressing on with their campaign to vindicate the failed Beijing student movement despite their thinning ranks.
This year’s theme will also feature calls for an end to arbitrary arrests and despotism, as well as a renewed fight for democracy, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Albert Ho, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said they expect attendance to top 100,000 people.
However, they will not include the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), a key participant in past memorials which withdrew from the alliance, citing differences with the latter’s objectives.
Students will take part in a torch relay ceremony as usual but will not be speaking on stage this time, Ho said.
He said he regrets HKFS’s decision to withdraw from the activities of the alliance but respects it.
Vice chairman Choi Yiu-cheong said a planned May 29 protest march will follow last year’s route, starting in Southorn Playground in Wan Chai and ending outside Beijing’s Liason Office in Western District.
Ho said the June 4 memorials are a show of localism that has been taking place for the past 27 years.
“Candles are our weapons against killings by the communist regime,” he said.
The candlelight vigil was launched in 1990 to mark the first anniversary of a bloody crackdown on student protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Organizers put attendance at 150,000 and the police at 80,000.
In 2009, it hit a peak of about 200,000 participants after appearing to lose fervor in previous years.
An estimated 135,000 turned out last year.
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