Police arrested an organizer of Hong Kong's annual candlelight vigil remembering the deadly Tiananmen Square crackdown and warned people not to attend the banned event Friday as authorities mute China's last pro-democracy voices. In past years, tens of thousands of people gathered in Hong Kong's Victoria Park to honor the victims who died when China’s military put down student-led pro-democracy protests on June 4, 1989, killing hundreds if not thousands. China’s ruling Communist Party has never allowed public events marking the military’s attack on protesters and citizens, and security was increased in the Beijing square Friday, the AP reports. Efforts to suppress public memory of the Tiananmen events have lately turned to Hong Kong, where the June 4 Museum was closed this week and police again Friday warned residents not to attend the vigil.
Law Kwok-hoi, senior superintendent of the Hong Kong police force, reminded residents the event was banned. Taking part in an illegal gathering has a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment. Chow Hang Tung, vice chair of the Hong Kong Alliance was arrested Friday morning, according to the group which organized the vigil and ran the June 4 Museum dedicated to remembering Tiananmen. After the ban was issued, Chow urged people to commemorate the event privately by lighting a candle wherever they are. RTHK reports that despite an extremely heavy police around Victoria Park, hundreds of people defied the ban to light candles on the outskirts of the park. Other shouted pro-democracy slogans in nearby streets.
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