Democracy activist Richard Tsoi shouted “protesting political oppression” as he was carried away by Hong Kong police on Saturday.
Tsoi is one of 13 people arrested at a demonstration commemorating the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Police also confiscated two exhibition items: The “Goddess of Democracy” statute—a replica of a similar statute erected by protestors in Tiananmen Square in 1989—and a tablet carving depicting the Chinese regime’s military action against the pro-democracy protests.
The event was set up outside the Time Square shopping mall at Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, but soon after, officers from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department arrived. They claimed organizers did not have the proper permits and demanded the area be cleared.
When organizers refused, dozens of police were called in to break up the demonstration.
On June 4th, 1989, the Chinese regime ordered a military crackdown on pro-democracy activists gathered at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, killing at least hundreds. The subject is still taboo in mainland China but residents in Hong Kong—who are governed under a separate political system—have been able to freely commemorate the victims.
That freedom, however, is now being questioned.
The Chairman of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China—organizer of the demonstration on Saturday—says this type of incident is a first in Hong Kong since the Tiananmen crackdown. He accuses Hong Kong's Chief Executive for this turn of events.
[Szeto Wah, Chairman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China]: (male, Cantonese, first full quote in footage)
“This is not the first time we have held an event at Time Square, so why has this taken place all of a sudden. I want to ask Donald Tsang ‘what exactly are you planning to do? On the one hand you’re engaging in talks with pan-democracy politicians, on the other hand, I feel the actions of the police today are a direct result of your orders.’”
Prominent lawmaker Albert Ho believes it’s obvious what Hong Kong authorities are trying to do.
[Albert Ho, Chairman of Hong Kong Democratic Party]:
“This is a very obvious attempt to suppress gatherings or marches dedicated to commemorate June 4th.”
All of the 13 people arrested were later released.
Richard Tsoi says the activists are planning to hold a candlelight vigil on June 4th. Last year, that event attracted 150,000 participants in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park.