This year we are fighting for our own freedom, say organisers of the annual pro-democracy demonstration More than 2,000 protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong yesterday to demand vindication of the 1989 pro-democracy movement in Beijing. The marchers also condemned proposed anti-subversion laws as a threat to freedom and civil liberties. The attack on the security legislation marks the first time a new theme has been added to the annual march, which commemorates the deaths of hundreds of students and workers killed by the PLA on June 4, 1989, in Tiananmen Square while demanding greater democracy and an end to corruption. Marchers vowed to continue to oppose proposed national security laws under Article 23 of the Basic Law, which seek to ban acts of treason, subversion and sedition. They said they would undermine freedom and could put an end to any future demonstrations by dissidents. In blazing sunshine, hundreds of protesters gathered in Victoria Park at 3pm. Shouting slogans, waving signs and singing, they headed off on a two-hour march to government headquarters in Central. Democrat legislator Szeto Wah, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, which organised the march, said he was confident those who took part in the June 4 protests - branded by the central government as a 'counter-revolutionary' riot - would be vindicated in the future. But the community first had to fight Article 23. 'This evil law is to be passed and the evil arm of autocracy, which exploits our democracy, freedom, rights and the rule of law, is reaching out to Hong Kong,' he said after handing a petition to police. 'Our road is long and winding but ... no matter if it takes 20, 30 or 50 years, we will continue down this path generation after generation. We are prepared to pay the price of sacrifice, and will oppose the evil law with civil disobedience.' The alliance, which has been branded as subversive by Beijing, perceives the proposed security law as a threat to its existence because of its activities and links with mainland dissidents. Fellow Democrat Cheung Man-kwong, also an executive member of the alliance, said in the past they had fought for democracy on the mainland, but now they were fighting for their own freedom. 'From now on, we have to fight for a China and a Hong Kong with no evil laws, no tyranny,' he said. Organisers originally feared that the Sars outbreak would affect the turnout to the march, but estimated about 2,500 protesters had turned up - two thirds more than last year. Mr Szeto put the turnout down to public anger about Article 23. He said he also expected a large crowd would aattend the annual candlelight vigil in Victoria Park at 8pm on Wednesday, where the alliance claimed 45,000 turned up last year. Among those joining the march yesterday were Catholic and Protestant groups, trade unions and political parties. In addition, protesters attending to speak out against Article 23 included more than 200 members of the Falun Gong meditation sect, which has been banned on the mainland where it is considered an 'evil cult'. Hong Kong Falun Gong spokesman Kan Hung-cheung said: 'Although we have no views on June 4, we are totally against Article 23 because it would affect local groups including the Falun Gong.' Fears voiced by protest organisers before the march that police would try to halt the event did not materialise, although officers stopped and verbally warned the driver of the alliance's lorry, which carried loudspeakers to lead the march. Legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, another executive member of the alliance, said police had threatened arrests ahead of the march on the grounds that the lorry would breach traffic regulations if activists stood on the back of the truck to shout slogans. The march also included members of the April 5th Action Group, among them veteran activist 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung, who carried a wooden coffin with a knife hanging over the top - symbolising the threat of Article 23 to the freedom of Hong Kong.