HK gears up for larger crowds at 'democracy' vigil
Hongkongers still feel strongly that those at fault in the Tiananmen crackdown should be made accountable - a reason why next Monday's anniversary vigil will likely draw more people than last year's 150,000, organisers say.
Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which is hosting the candlelight vigil at Victoria Park, said the political implications of the events of June 4, 1989, still resonated with Chinese today.
Lee urged all Hongkongers, including chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying, to join the vigil and show their concern for civil rights, which some believe are under threat in the city and on the mainland.
'I hope there will be more and more people at the vigil year after year. And I think there will be - including more mainland tourists and young people as well,' Lee said yesterday.
Lee added that some Hongkongers were worried that Leung might bow to the central government's 'political missions' after he would take office on July 1.
Already, City University students have pledged to begin a hunger strike tomorrow to demand accountability for the Tiananmen crackdown. Chinese University's student union also held a vigil last night and erected a Goddess of Democracy Statue.
Similarly, highlighting its pro-democracy message, next Monday's memorial will feature a video speech by blind activist Chen Guangcheng, who escaped house arrest in Shandong province and who is now living in New York.
Another video message will feature Wang Dan, a now-exiled leader of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests.
Because of organisers' large crowd estimates, police have agreed to open various emergency lanes for vehicles heading to Victoria Park's football grounds from 8pm to around 8.30pm.
The authorities also vowed not to close those access paths at 8.30pm if people are still coming in, Kee said. 'I hope the police will not be mischievous like last year. They should keep the alleys open as long as there are people coming in,' he said.
Two hundred volunteer guides from the alliance will be on hand for crowd control. People attending the vigil should enter Victoria Park either from the Causeway Bay entrance or the one near Tin Hau MTR, Lee said.
Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung said yesterday that the vigil would go smoothly and police would follow the agreement they reached with organisers.