- By Martin Yip in Hong Kong & Adam Durbin in London
- BBC News
Police have arrested several pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Officials have banned public commemorations of the 1989 incident when China crushed peaceful protests in Beijing with tanks and troops.
However, candlelight vigils are held in other cities around the world.
Among those arrested was 67-year-old Alexandra Wong, a prominent campaigner known as “Granny Wong”.
On a tense evening in Hong Kong, he was arrested while carrying flowers near Victoria Park, where awareness rallies have been held for decades.
Among those arrested was the leader of one of Hong Kong’s main opposition parties. Senior pro-democracy activist San Bo Ying, head of the League of Social Democrats, held an LED candle and two flowers.
Mak Yin Ting, former president of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, was also detained and later released. Police later said they had arrested one person and taken 23 people to police stations for questioning.
Events commemorating the 1989 massacre in Beijing are banned in mainland China.
For decades, Hong Kong was the only Chinese city where these monuments were permitted under the city’s semi-autonomous economic, political and legal system known as “one country, two systems” established when the city was handed over to China. UK in 1997.
The annual commemoration has not been held since 2019, after an initial ban under Hong Kong’s Covid regulations.
This year, a pro-Beijing carnival is being held in Victoria Park.
Ms Wong was surrounded by police on Sunday in the city’s Causeway Bay area.
Nearby Victoria Park has held annual candlelight vigils to mark Tiananmen Square since 1990, and tens of thousands of people often turn out to mark the day, known as June Fourth in much of China.
Hong Kong police have deployed thousands of officers to key locations in the city, stopping to search and question people.
Authorities set up booths to search passers-by, including journalists, outside the metro station near Victoria Park.
Two Chinese-made “Sabre-tooth Tiger” armored vehicles appear to show police strength in the area.
Ahead of the expected protests, the city’s government has also removed books about the Tiananmen crackdown from public libraries.
A woman among those arrested shouted “Lift up the candle! 64 Mourning!” Another carried a book titled “May 35” — both referring to the June 4 date of the murders.
Others have been detained while holding unlit candles or wearing yellow, the color of the now defunct pro-democracy movement.
On Saturday, four people were arrested on suspicion of disturbing order in a public place or acting with seditious intent – both new offenses under the controversial 2020 law.
Dozens of candlelight vigils were held around the world on Sunday to remember those killed by the Chinese military in retaliation for the crackdown.
In Taiwan, the democratic, self-governing island that China claims as its territory and has vowed to take control by force if necessary, hundreds of people gathered to mark the anniversary.
“Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” chants were heard from crowds in the capital Taipei at the “Pillar of Shame” – a famous statue commemorating the dead at the University of Hong Kong. Tiananmen Square will be demolished in 2021.
Many involved hope the vigil will continue the spirit of Hong Kong’s once-vibrant civil society and political community, which has now largely quieted down as many are jailed under the National Security Act or have fled Hong Kong.
The Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing became the focus of national demonstrations in 1989 calling for greater political freedoms.
Thousands of people – most of them students – camped out in the iconic Beijing square for weeks before the military moved in and opened fire on June 4.
An unidentified protester has become a symbol of international protest to block an advancing column of tanks in scenes seen around the world.
The Chinese government said 200 civilians and dozens of security forces were killed. Other estimates range from hundreds to 10,000.
The authorities’ actions are seen by activists as part of China’s broader agenda to stamp out political dissent in Hong Kong.