Protesters gathered this Thursday, June 4, 2020. - Anthony WALLACE / AFP

Crowds of Hong Kong people braved the ban on assembly on Thursday to mark the 31st anniversary of the bloody crackdown on Tiananmen during vigils in several neighborhoods, amid tensions over Beijing's influence over the city. For the first time in 30 years, the police had not authorized the traditional tribute to the victims which takes place every year in Victoria Park, citing the restrictions linked to the coronavirus. Police are making arrests at the moment. 

As the Hong Kong people prepared to mark the event in dispersed order throughout the territory, some protesters removed the barriers that had been installed around this large green space on the island of Hong Kong, which allowed a crowd ever more numerous to come and blacken the football fields by chanting slogans of the pro-democracy movement. Many wore a black t-shirt with the inscription "Truth" in white. "Stand up for Hong Kong," said the protesters, while others waved flags for independence. 

“I don't think it's because of the pandemic. It's political repression ”

The bloody intervention of the Chinese army on the night of June 3-4, 1989 ended seven weeks of student and worker protests against corruption and for democracy in China. The repression had left between several hundred and more than a thousand dead. The subject is taboo in China. An AFP photographer was arrested by police on Thursday morning in Beijing, who forced him to erase most of his photos while driving near Tiananmen.

Thousands of Hong Kongers have lit candles in several districts of the former British colony in memory of the victims of the bloody repression of Tiananmen 31 years ago in Beijing, according to on-site #AFP journalists pic.twitter .com / 7I16AarzrW

- Agence France-Presse (@afpfr) June 4, 2020

“I don't think it's because of the pandemic. This is political repression, "Wong, a 53-year-old man who refused to give his full identity after kneeling near the Park in tribute, told AFP today. "I am afraid that this vigil will never take place again. Last year, the vigil of the 30th anniversary had already taken place in a tense political context: the pro-Beijing Hong Kong executive was trying to impose authorization for extraditions to mainland China. A week later, seven months of almost daily protests began in the financial metropolis.

Washington, like every year, hailed the memory of the victims. American Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo tweeted a photo of him with four figures from the Tiananmen movement.


Coronavirus: Minutes of silence, flags at half-mast, sirens ... China pays tribute to its dead


Coronavirus: Minutes of silence, flags at half-mast, sirens ... China pays tribute to its dead

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