Macau has banned the annual Tiananmen Massacre commemorative vigil citing health concerns over Covid-19.

The Special Administrative Region has seen 45 cases of the coronavirus – the last of whom recovered and was relased on Tuesday. It has recorded zero deaths and has not seen any new cases for 41 days.

A flag-raising ceremony in Macau after the Handover. Photo: Macau government.

Lawmaker Au Kam San of the organising group Democratic Development Union told Macau News Agency that they will take the issue to the Court of Final Appeal.

It is the first time the vigil has been banned in 30 years, according to Macau Business.

The Tiananmen massacre occurred on June 4, 1989 ending months of student-led demonstrations in China. It is estimated that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people died when the People’s Liberation Army was deployed to crack down on protesters in Beijing.

Vigils are held each year in Macau and Hong Kong in remembrance of the dead.

Anyone wishing to host meetings or demonstrations in public must notify Macau’s Public Security Police Force (CPSP) in writing in advance. “We don’t think [the CPSP decision] is justified, and we will plan our next move once the court has a decision,” Au told MNA, according to Macau Business.

Earlier this month, Macau banned the Union’s open-air exhibition on the massacre citing unclear reasons relating to “attributions and competencies.”

Chief Executive-appointed lawmaker Lao Chi Ngai said that the exhibition contravened constitutional law, the Basic Law, and the One Country principle, according to Macau Daily Times.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Quartz, Global Post and others.