The Latest: Hong Kong student groups quit Tiananmen vigil

AP News
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Posted: Jun 04, 2016 8:03 AM
The Latest: Hong Kong student groups quit Tiananmen vigil

HONG KONG (AP) — The Latest on the 27th anniversary of the Chinese military's bloody June 4, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square (all times local):

8 p.m.

Hong Kong student groups that have been longstanding supporters of the annual candlelight vigil for the victims of the Chinese military's bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square have dropped out this year because of a disagreement over the vigil's aims.

Instead, university and college students were holding discussion forums on the future of Hong Kong on Saturday evening, the 27th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The move underscores the widening rift that emerged between younger and older generations of pro-democracy activists over the idea of Hong Kong's identity following 2014 protests over Beijing's decision to restrict elections in the semiautonomous city.

It follows the decision in April by student leaders to quit the Hong Kong Alliance because they believe one of its main aims, fighting for democracy in mainland China, is no longer realistic.

They also think the vigil's formulaic format fails to appeal to the younger generation.

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7:45 p.m.

People are starting to filter into Victoria Park in Hong Kong's Causeway Bay district as the city prepares to hold an annual candlelight vigil on the 27th anniversary of the Chinese military's bloody crackdown on student-led pro-democracy protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Organizers are expecting 100,000 people to attend, though the threat of rain may keep numbers down.

The annual event is the only large-scale public commemoration of Beijing's brutal crackdown held on Chinese soil.

The vigil is organized by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China. It demands that Beijing overturn its verdict that the Tiananmen protests were a counterrevolutionary riot. It also calls for one-party dictatorship in China to be replaced by democracy.