A vigil marking the 26th anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square -- expected to draw crowds of more than 100,000 -- is taking place in Hong Kong's Victoria Park on Thursday. The event honors the hundreds of pro-democracy protesters who died after Chinese Communist authorities sent tanks to the peaceful 1989 protest in the Beijing square.
The crowd lights candles and carries out somber events to “build a democratic China” and to honor those who died -- largely students -- in the 1989 protest, the Financial Times reported. Hong Kong is the only area in China that is allowed to openly commemorate the events. The gathering has been a tradition since the massacre occurred. A live stream of the 2015 vigil, featuring numerous speakers and views of the sweeping crowds, can be found here.
— Lhasawa Tenzin Neema (@Lhasa_Bhu) June 4, 2015
While large crowds are certainly expected in Victoria Park, there has been pushback concerning the vigil from some in Hong Kong as well. Some students in Hong Kong have begun to express that the area owes nothing to China as a whole. They believe, "Hong Kong people are only responsible for democracy in Hong Kong," the Financial Times reported. Student groups that usually attend the events -- most prominently the Hong Kong Federation of Students -- decided to opt out this year, Time reported.
The candles are being lit in Victoria Park to remember those who died in Beijing in the spring of 1989. pic.twitter.com/2mQInqRz23
— Mike Forsythe 傅才德 (@PekingMike) June 4, 2015
Last year, activists -- many of whom were students -- occupied the streets of Hong Kong, advocating the city's right to elect its own leader. Those protests were cleared peacefully.