Members of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the organisers of past June 4 vigil, went ahead with the distribution of candles outside Victoria Park on Thursday, even though part of the site remained closed off.
Three layers of barricades have been erected to keep people away from the park’s football pitches, which had been the venue for the event for the past three decades.
Police have denied permission for the vigil this year, citing the social distancing measures in place due to the coronavirus outbreak. But the alliance and opposition parties say this is just a ploy to prevent the remembrance of the 1989 massacre in Beijing.
Sources had earlier indicated that officers will not interfere if people in small groups go to the park, as long as they don't breach an eight-person limit on public gatherings.
Riot officers were patrolling nearby areas, hours before the 8pm vigils that organisers called for. Some officers were also seen recording those distributing candles outside the park.
Some people turned up at the site well before the scheduled vigil time for moments of quiet reflection. One woman, who gave her name as GC, said she would still commemorate the occasion.
“I came here for last three years,” she said. “I think nowadays [do] whatever action we can do [to mark the day] … at your home, in our hearts.”
GC told RTHK's Richard Pyne that it is important to remember what happened in Beijing 30 years ago and said it is a reflection of what is happening in Hong Kong now.