A commemoration event and rally will be held this Friday on the fourth anniversary of the pro-democracy Occupy movement.

On September 28, 2014, the police fired 87 canisters of tear gas into protesters in Admiralty, which led to the 79-day movement that occupied main streets of Hong Kong. The move came after a week of class boycott against the restrictive universal suffrage proposal issued by Beijing, and two days after activists stormed the “Civic Square” outside the government headquarters.

James Hon, spokesperson of the group Citizen Charter 617, said he received a letter of no objection from the police to hold a rally at the “Lennon Wall” – which was covered with post-it messages supportive of the Occupy protesters four years ago.

James Hon Gary Fan Claudia Mo Tam Tak-chi
From left: James Hon, Gary Fan, Claudia Mo, Tam Tak-chi

Hon said groups will start displaying items from the protests at around noon on Friday, and the rally will be held between 4pm and 9pm. At 5:58pm, the moment when the first tear gas canister was fired, participants of the rally will stand silently for three minutes. A sound recording of the moment will be played.

Hon said Hong Kong faces a tough situation in which core freedoms have been gradually disappearing, such as the freedom of association. This week, the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party was banned by the government. Hon said he has invited Andy Chan, the former convenor of the group, to speak at the event.

He said Hongkongers must defend the freedoms and rights enshrined in the Basic Law on September 28 to fight for the rights, freedoms and real democracy that they deserve.

He applied to the police for a 500-person rally. He said it was difficult to estimate the number of participants but he believed it would not be small.

admiralty hong kong democracy occupy universal suffrage umbrella movement
File photo: inmediahk.net.

At a press conference on Monday, Hon was accompanied by lawmakers Claudia Mo and Gary Fan of the group Council Front, as well as Tam Tak-chi of the People Power Party. Hon said 26 groups have promised to attend the rally, and he has tried to invite the co-founders of the Occupy movement and other pan-democratic parties.

The Progressive Lawyers Group, one of the professional sector groups formed after the Occupy movement, will attend the rally.

“It is with great sadness that the Progressive Lawyers Group notes that four years later, the goal of genuine universal suffrage remains ever more distant and the state of the rule of law and human rights have significantly regressed,” it said in a social media post.

“For that very reason, it is all the more important that as Hongkongers, we do not forget this defining moment and all the hope and the promise that it symbolised.”

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.