23 detained in Hong Kong in Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary vigil
The police claimed that the 11 men and 12 women, aged 20 to 74, detained were suspected of “breaching the peace” near Victoria Park
June 5, 2023 9:14am
Updated: June 5, 2023 9:15am
Hong Kong police detained 23 individuals, including pro-democracy activists, and arrested one other on Sunday during the 34th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China.
The police claimed that the 11 men and 12 women, aged 20 to 74, detained were suspected of “breaching the peace” near Victoria Park, where the city held annual vigils marking the crackdown by the Chinese Communist Party on pro-democracy demonstrators since 1990.
Several of those detained included well-known pro-democracy activists, including Alexandra Wong, Mak Yin-ting, former chair of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, and Leo TTand, former leader of the Confederation of Trade Unions.
Meanwhile, a 53-year-old woman was arrested for “obstructing police officers” and refusing to show her ID.
In light of the anniversary of the massacre on June 4, 1989, authorities deployed hundreds of police and armored vehicles near Victoria Park to conduct stop-and-search operations.
Chan Po-Ying, an activist and head of the League of Social Democrats, was briefly detained by Hong Kong Police after holding a small LED candle and two flowers. She was seized by police and was released about two hours later, reported The Guardian.
According to activists, the detentions were part of a broader crackdown by China against activists in Hong Kong. In 2020, Beijing imposed a new national security law to fight against dissent after large pro-democracy demonstrations took over the city.
Since then, the annual vigil commemorating Tiananmen Square has been banned and those who used to organize it have been arrested.
"The regime wants you to forget, but you can't forget... It (China) wants to whitewash all history," Chris To, 51, told Reuters. "We need to use our bodies and word of mouth to tell others what happened."
In 1989, the Chinese Communist Party sent troops and tanks to Tiananmen Square in Beijing to break up peaceful protests calling for political change in the country. Some experts estimate that almost 1,000 individuals were killed after the army opened fire on the crowds.
Beijing has taken extensive measures to erase the actions taken on June 4, 1989, including deleting all of the information pertaining to the event from the internet and arresting any who look up words related to it.