Organisers of the June 4 candlelight vigil said that Thursday's city-wide commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre was not just to mourn the past, but also an event to think about the Hong Kong's future.
"People used the event not just to mourn and remember what happened on June 4, 1989 but to think about the future of Hong Kong," said Lee Cheuk-yan, the chairman of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China.
Lee said that this year's commemoration was different, coming after last year's anti-government protests and Beijing's announcement that it is to impose a national security law on the SAR.
"Now with the increasing pressure on Hong Kong and erosion of our rights and freedoms, the people of Hong Kong, I think when they attend the candlelight vigil they are also thinking about our whole situation," said the former lawmaker.
"So we are now relating the two events together; the 1989 democracy movement, and the national security law coming into Hong Kong, and last year’s protest movement that was heavily, brutally suppressed by the Hong Kong police."
In the recent past, some youngsters and student groups had stayed away from the Victoria Park vigil, saying it was a pointless ritual and the organisers should be concentrating on Hong Kong rather than trying to promote democracy on the mainland.
But Lee said the fact that many people still turned up at the park, and that thousands of people held their own vigils across the city, shows they are united now.
The former lawmaker also acknowledged that a number of people at Victoria Park raised slogans supporting Hong Kong independence.
Lee said that he respects everyone's freedom of speech, and the alliance does not want to impose restrictions on what people can or cannot say.
He said slogans calling for Hong Kong independence did not lead to the rally deteriorating into chaos, nor did they change the nature of the event.
'June 4 vigil now about Hong Kong's future also'
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