Walking from the Causeway Bay MTR station into Victoria Park it looked the same. The path was lined with representitives from the pan-democratic parties yelling in megaphones about how bad the government is and how there needs to be ‘true universal sufferage’ in Hong Kong.
There was a strong police presence and most of the megaphones and students were yelling how the police are ‘no better than the PLA’ a reference to China’s People’s Liberation Army who brutially cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen square 26 years ago tonight. The Hong Kong Police Force did fire tear gas, pepper spray and used clubs to try and control the pro-democracy demonstrators last year in Admiralty and Mong Kok but they didn’t use tanks and bullets like the PLA.
In the basketball and tennis court areas of Victoria Park, the crowd sat on the ground holding candles. Giant screens were erected showing scenes from 26 years ago as well as speeches and ceremonies being held at the front. It is the same process as last year and the year before. There were moments of silence for the victims. There were popular songs reworded with pro-democracy lyrics. There were tears when one of the mothers of the victims spoke about not knowing what happened to her child. The crowd was big as organizers said there were 135,000 while police said there were 46,600 people. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. It was somber but it was very different from the previous years.
“The commemoration of June 4 … has been a lesson of politics and democracy for many young poeple,” Wang Chaohua, a 1989 student leader said to the crowd in Victoria Park via video tape from Los Angeles. “I beleive that is why they stood up so courageously in the ‘umbrella movement’ to fight for universal suffrage.”
The candle light vigil in Victoria Park has always had a mission to ‘continue the struggle for democracy in Mainland China’ acording to organizers. With China’s decision on how Hong Kong’s Chief Executive should be chosen in 2017 from a list of candidates chosen from a strongly loyal Beijing nominating Committee, there is a feeling amongst Hong Kongers of how there needs to be more democracy in Hong Kong.
At the University of Hong Kong and in Tsim Sha Tsui rallys and memorials were held to commemorate the events of the Umbrella Movement. Acording to the South China Morning Post leaders at these events burned copies of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, and vowed to fight to change the articles dealing with the selection of the Chief Executive to ensure everyone can run for the position as Hong Kong’s top leader.
The Hong Kong Legislative Council will vote on the election reform on June 17. It is surely to spark more protests as even if it is defeated the political system in Hong Kong will remain with the few instead of with the people.
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