Police arrested organizers of an annual candlelight event in Hong Kong and recalled the deadly crackdown on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, warning people not to attend banned events and closing parts of the site on Friday as Chinese authorities silenced the latest pro-democracy efforts in the country.
In recent years, tens of thousands of people have gathered in Hong Kong's Victoria Park to honor the dead from when the Chinese military suppressed student-led democratic protests on June 4, 1989. Hundreds, if not thousands, were killed.
China's ruling Communist Party dissuades celebrations of such anniversaries, and security on Beijing Square has been stepped up with police checking pedestrian IDs while tourist buses escort Chinese tourists in and out.
Recently, efforts to suppress public memory of Tiananmen have been centered in Hong Kong. A temporary museum closed following a visit by authorities earlier this week, and police early Friday arrested the vice president of the Hong Kong Alliance, a group that organizes the museum and is on guard.
Evening events at Victoria Park have been banned for a second year under coronavirus pandemic restrictions, although the city has had no local cases in more than six weeks. The move comes amid radical measures to suppress dissent in the city, including a new national security law, changes to the electoral system and the arrests of many activists involved in the democracy protests that swept Hong Kong in 2019.
Hong Kong police closed parts of the park, including a football field and basketball court, to prevent gatherings. Police said they were aware of phone calls on social media asking people to come on guard.