ABOUT 20,000 local supporters of China's democracy movement last night vowed to carry on their battle beyond 1997. At a candlelight vigil commemorating the sixth anniversary of the June 4 crackdown, they pledged to rally behind the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China. A statement read on behalf of the sombre crowd said: 'We hope that the candlelight will straddle 1997 and become the conscience of China and a source of strength of democracy. 'The alliance, as a lawful organisation, will definitely stay with all the people of Hong Kong, even after 1997. 'To continue our struggle we have to rely on the unity, support and efforts of the people. No public support, no alliance,' they said. The protesters turned three football pitches of the Victoria Park into a sea of flickering candles. In the middle stood a three-metre cenotaph, flanked by two Statues of Democracy. A trio sang Chinese folk songs to the hushed crowd before three giant television screens - separated by black banners which implored people to remember the events of June 4, 1989 - which replayed the events that led to the massacre. The screens also carried images of late singer Teresa Teng in a local pro-democracy concert. Veteran democrat, Szeto Wah, led an 18-strong procession carrying a wreath from the stage to place it between the Statues of Democracy. Returning to the stage, the group lit a flame of democracy. The 21/2-hour rally was orderly. Some participants wept as the mother of dissident Wang Dan said in a recorded tape that she hoped her son was healthy and would be allowed to go home. Vice-chairman Cheung Man-kwong said the alliance would continue to organise pro-democracy activities even if it was outlawed after 1997. Although most of the core leaders are also key Democratic Party members, Mr Cheung said their role in the alliance should not affect their political standing. Various pro-democracy groups staged events commemorating June 4. Holding a paper torch symbolising the pursuit of democracy, a group of about 20 Hong Kong University students ran from their Pokfulam campus to the headquarters of Xinhua (the New China News Agency). An exhibition of photos of the 1989 democracy movement was staged in Tsim Sha Tsui. The April 5 Action Group and the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood petitioned outside the Xinhua office, demanding China immediately release detained dissidents, including Wang. At the City Forum two pro-China figures spoke against more June 4 activities, which they feared might disrupt social harmony.