‘Don’t use virus as an excuse to block June 4 vigil’

Organisers of the annual June 4 candlelight vigil called on the police not to use the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to block the memorial from happening again, after the force on Tuesday asked how they plan to comply with social distancing regulations.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China says they will remind all those attending the vigil to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre to comply with the government’s rules on mask wearing and group sizes.

Last year’s vigil failed to get police approval, but the alliance says the virus situation is now stable and expects some 60,000 people to turn up.

“We cannot predict what the police’s decision will be. We are doing all kinds of measures to safeguard Hong Kong people’s rights to mourn the June 4 massacre in a lawful and safe manner,” the alliance’s Lo Wai-ming told reporters after meeting the police.

Police officers had also asked about compliance with social distancing rules in a previous meeting about a protest planned for May 30, organisers said.

And, they again asked about the alliance’s past activities and its five goals, which include ending one-party dictatorship.

Lo said they explained what their goals are and officers didn’t mention anything about the national security law.

Some pro-Beijing figures have claimed the vigil could violate the security law.

The vigil is normally held in Victoria Park, but the alliance didn’t mention where they plan to hold the assembly.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said in April it wouldn’t be processing applications for the use of Victoria Park “in view of the latest coronavirus situation” until further notice.