A student activist has been arrested after his group set up a street booth commemorating the victims of the Tiananmen Massacre on the 32nd anniversary of the crackdown.
Convenor of Student Politicism Wong Yat-chin was arrested on Friday evening in Mong Kok after the group set up a street booth to play a BBC documentary on the 1989 massacre.
It came as thousands of police fanned out across the city to prevent gatherings after they banned the annual vigil in Victoria Park citing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to his arrest, Wong, and secretary of Student Politicism Chan Chi-sam, said that they were warned by the government that if they decided to play an unlicensed film, they could face a fine of HK$200,000 and a year of imprisonment.
Dozens of police officers surrounded the group’s booth while members decided whether they should go ahead with the screening. Wong was later arrested under the Public Order Ordinance.
Community commemorations of the Tiananmen Massacre took place across the city as the police officially banned the annual vigil in Victoria Park for the second consecutive year.
Earlier on Friday afternoon, police sealed off parts of the park, citing risks of an unauthorised assembly under section 17 of the Public Order Ordinance.
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.
Ms. Yuen, who was handling out candles in Mong Kok, said that she has been doing so over the last couple of years on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre.
“We have been handing out candles here instead of at Victoria Park in the last couple of years,” said Yuen. “Because we think that there is more than one way to commemorate the victims.”
“I think people should use their wisdom and pick a way to commemorate that is acceptable here [in Hong Kong],” said Yuen. “You can never completely forget (about the massacre), unless this regime apologises to its people.”
Yau Tsim Mong community group Community March also organised a street booth in Mong Kok on Friday evening distributing candles to members of public. At least 20 police officers stood near the booths monitoring crowd gatherings, warning the public about possible violations of Covid-19 social-distancing rules.
Dozens of people also gathered outside Langham Place, Mong Kok, holding up their phone lights at around 8 p.m..
Mr. Cheung, who initially planned to go to the Victoria Park, told HKFP that he decided to go to Mong Kok instead as it would be “easier for him to leave if anything happens.”
“There are a lot of places we can go, we don’t have to all go to [Victoria Park] as the centre point,” said Cheung.