Churches to mark June 4 as hopes fade for vigil

Seven churches will hold masses at 8pm on June 4 in remembrance of those who died in the Tiananmen Square crackdown 32 years ago.

This comes as hopes for holding the candlelight vigil in Victoria Park next Friday have diminished in the wake of another meeting between its organizer and police proving fruitless.

Among the churches are Holy Cross Church in Sai Wan Ho, St Bonaventure Church in Tsz Wan Shan and St Benedict Church in Sha Tin, according to the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese.

The organization said churches had not forgotten the Tiananmen Square incident, and hoped that “history would shed light on those who died after pursuing the truth.”

It said the number of participants would be limited to 30 percent of the normal seating capacity of each of the involved churches, and appealed to participants to comply with the arrangement.

The organization also said some churches might livestream their masses.

That came as approval for the June 4 candlelight vigil was denied by the police, who again cited social distancing measures that remain in force.

But the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements said it would appeal to participants to comply with the measures on the day, expecting to see around 40,000 to 60,000 joining the event.

The alliance had a two-hour meeting with officers at North Point police station yesterday on holding the vigil.

While police did not ban the vigil outright, officers emphasized that public gatherings of more than four people are still forbidden.

Police also did not say whether the alliance’s slogans, such as “vindicate June 4,” would breach the national security law.

The convener of the alliance’s permanent secretariat branch, Leung Kam-wai, said people have the right to assemble, adding that police should stop limiting such a right on the grounds of the pandemic.

“We can see that the latest situation with the pandemic has eased, and lots of government facilities have reopened and services have been restored back to normal.”

Leung said. “We are calling on the police to issue letters of no objection for both the vigil and the march as soon as possible so that both can be held as scheduled on June 4 and this Sunday respectively.”

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