8:59pm:The candlelight vigil has just ended at about 9pm, an hour earlier than scheduled, because of the heavy rain. The scheduled speech by Wang Dan and Li Wanling had not been broadcast before the event was halted.
The organiser of the candlelight vigil, the Hong Kong Alliance In Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China announced that there were about 150,000 people braving the heavy rain to join the annual memorial event. Police estimated the crowd at 54,000.
8:09pm: Among the participants in tonight's event is 84-year-old Liang Sing-ling who has attended every vigil since 1990. “The most important thing is to vindicate the movement and mourn for the death,” Liang said. “These are the reasons why people come every year.”
Another participant in tonight’s vigil is one of the 21 Tiananmen activists still wanted by the Communist Party. So far he has not been identified, but he has arrived in Hong Kong from the United States and is ready to join the event tonight to mourn his comrades who died in the crackdown.
Three other mainland dissidents or their relatives will attend the event: Wang Dan, a leader in the 1989 movement now living in Taipei; Li Wanling, sister of June 4 blind activist Li Wangyang who mainland authorities claimed committed suicide last year, and Lu Yanjing, widow of Zhang Lin who died in the Tiananmen protest. All three will give speeches tonight.
The organiser of the candlelight vigil, the Hong Kong Alliance In Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, is hoping for a turnout of at least 180,000 people to mark the 24th anniversary of the crackdown.
7:30pm: Participants of the annual June 4 candlelight vigil to remember the Tiananmen crackdown 24 years ago started pouring into Victoria Park on Tuesday evening.
People at booths were calling for donations and the vindication of the crackdown.
Two of the football courts in the park were full by 6.30pm, a full hour and a half before the vigil starts. Included in the crowds were young people born after the crackdown, elderly ones who saw it happening on television, and mainlanders who came to Hong Kong especially for the vigil.
Dozens of cyclists entered the park carrying their bicycles to commemorate the students who travelled around Beijing on their bikes during the 1989 movement. Organisers have expected this year’s turnout to be larger than last year’s record of 180,000 despite speculation that the recent controversy over the initial use of “love the country” as part of the event’s sloga, which has since been dropped, and separate rallies organised by activists who are calling for the defence of local culture could deal a blow to the event’s attendance figures.
Participants of the annual June 4 candlelight vigil to remember the Tiananmen crackdown 24 years ago started pouring into Victoria Park on Tuesday evening.