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Massive crowd at Hong Kong Tiananmen vigil

world Updated: Jun 05, 2009 00:25 IST

AFP
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Tens of thousands of people crowded a park in Hong Kong for a candlelight vigil to mark the 20th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on protests in Tiananmen Square, the only such event on Chinese soil.

The annual vigil has become a touchstone both for the movement for democracy in China and for the campaign to overturn Beijing's official verdict condemning the 1989 demonstrations.

Organisers said they were hoping 100,000 people would attend the event in the southern Chinese city's Victoria Park, more than double last year's attendance.

"This rally will tell the world... That we still remember the Tiananmen Square democracy movement," Xiong Yan, one of the student leaders of the protests who was surprisingly let into Hong Kong on Saturday, told AFP.

The park was aglow with the light from candles held by the sea of people.

The main stage was festooned with a huge banner written in Chinese that said: "June 4th, 20 years -- passing the fire to the next generation."

The Tiananmen crackdown -- which left hundreds, possibly thousands dead -- remains a taboo subject in China and authorities have moved aggressively to make sure the anniversary is not actively marked anywhere on the mainland.