Hundreds gathered in Admiralty to mark the fourth anniversary of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement on Friday.

The rally was held outside the government offices in front of a replica of the famous “Lennon Wall” – where protesters pasted post-it messages supportive of the Occupy movement in 2014. Onstage, activists and politicians rallied attendees in front of a slogan saying: “The umbrella spirit persists; we are Hongkongers.”

occupy anniversary
Photo: HKFP/Holmes Chan.

Despite the government’s ban on the separatist Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) on Monday, a group of activists waved independence flags at the rally.

Tam Tak-chi, a People Power party activist, said it was important to hold street booths on the movement’s anniversary.

He noted that Hongkongers’ freedoms will continue to face increasing threats from the government after the HKNP ban.

“I was recently asked if Article 23 [national security law] is enacted, will we be able to continue doing such booths – and I said if we can’t do this, we will raise our umbrellas and march on the streets,” he said.

occupy anniversary
Photo: HKFP/Kris Cheng.

Joshua Wong, who did not attend last year’s commemoration event as he was still in jail, spoke onstage on Friday. The Occupy student leader said that a big challenge facing Hong kong’s democracy movement is the low turnout of young people.

“The Umbrella Movement is not a victory, the NPCSC decision [on the method of electing the chief executive] is still in place,” he said. “But one thing is for sure, in the history of Hong Kong’s democracy movement it is a legend.”

occupy umbrella movement
Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Disqualified lawmaker Lau Siu-lai, who will be running in the November 25 by-election to retake her seat, told HKFP the event was not only about remembering the start of the Umbrella Movement.

occupy anniversary
Photo: HKFP/Kris Cheng.

“It is to remember all the things that we have worked on these past few years – there surely were frustrations and disappointments, but it is important to note that we stayed together until now – our selflessness, innocence, love and strong minds for Hong Kong,” she said.

Ms. Cheng, a university student, told HKFP she attended the event because she felt the Umbrella Movement was a major turning point in Hong Kong politics.

She was in high school in 2014, and she said she missed out on the Occupy movement because her parents disapproved.

“I feel I need to take part, even though it is too late,” she said, but noted that not many of her university friends came along.

Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.