Hong Kong to Deploy 3,000 Police to Block Tiananmen Square Massacre Memorials
The Hong Kong Police Force will deploy over 3,000 officers to Hong Kong’s Victoria Park on Friday to block any attempts by the public to commemorate the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, local newspaper Apple Daily reported Wednesday.
“[T]he park will be marked with restricted areas covering the football pitches and the central lawn, according to sources. People wearing black clothes, holding a candle and chanting slogans related to June 4 might be considered as part of the banned rally, with officers on hand to record videos and dish out warnings,” unidentified sources allegedly told Apply Daily.
“Police might arrest people who did not leave after a warning, the sources said. People who left could also be subjected to the police’s follow-up action, such as taking them into custody on the basis of the on-site videos and other evidence drawn from the scene, after consulting the [Hong Kong] Department of Justice,” according to the newspaper.
Apple Daily said it asked the Hong Kong Police Force this week about the alleged deployment of its forces to Victoria Park on June 4. The police department “said it would deploy adequate manpower to relevant locations and enforce the law swiftly. The police urged the public not to attend or promote unauthorized assemblies or banned gatherings, to avoid spreading the [Chinese corona]virus,” according to the newspaper.
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China previously organized an annual candlelight vigil to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park. Pro-China forces in the Hong Kong government launched a security crackdown on Hong Kong last year in response to a pro-democracy protest movement in the city, banning the Tiananmen vigil in Victoria Park for the first time. Hong Kong health officials cited concerns over large gatherings during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic as the reason for blocking the event. The Hong Kong Police Force cited the same epidemiological reason this May when it announced that it would ban the Tiananmen vigil for the second year in a row.
Tens-of-thousands of people in Hong Kong defied the city’s official ban on the Tiananmen vigil in June 2020 to attend an unauthorized event honoring the massacre’s anniversary in Victoria Park. The Hong Kong Police Force identified 13 of the attendees as leading members of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. The police department subsequently arrested and charged the individuals with “holding an unauthorized gathering” in July 2020.