Hong Kong police have banned the annual vigil marking the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre for the first time in 30 years, citing coronavirus public gathering restrictions.
On Monday, the force wrote a letter to Richard Tsoi – vice-chair of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China – which organises the June 4 candlelight event, saying it objected to the planned assembly due to current social distancing measures.
“Public assemblies are a high-risk activity due to large crowds gathering. Police believe that the event will not only increase participants’ chances of contracting the virus, but also threaten citizens’ lives and health, thus endangering public safety and affecting the rights of others,” it read.
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.
More to follow.
Additional reporting: Jennifer Creery