Tiananmen 25th Anniversary Vigil In Hong Kong Is Staggering

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More than 180,000 people gathered in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park for a candlelit tonight to mark 25th anniversary of 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown that between 300 and 2,600 peaceful protesters.

, an annual occurrence since event, is largest that it has been in years, thanks to clear weather, increased frustration over Hong Kongers’ desire for universal suffrage, and an increased interest from younger generation.

Victoria Park’s six football fields were filled with people standing , with many overflowing onto the surrounding lawns.

Thanks to relaxed visa restrictions between Hong Kong and the mainland, many mainland Chinese people made the trek specifically for the event. China has banned any mention of the Tiananmen crackdown and has put police out in to prevent any commemoration.

“A lot of my friends my age are to come to Hong Kong for the vigil,” a man from China’s Yunnan province told Businessweek. “The younger generation are mostly unaware of what happened. The China we knew back then as youths is very different from the China today.”

The Tiananmen Square crackdown occurred June 3rd, 1989, when Chinese soldiers opened fire peaceful protesters demanding that the government grant political reforms, increased freedom, and the elimination of corruption.

A participant looks as she and others mourn those who during the Tiananmen crackdown at a candlelight vigil at Victoria Park. Hong Kong is the only Chinese territory that is holding any commemoration of the crackdown, owing to the ’s status as a semi-autonomous region.

Visitors to Victoria Park arrived at the vigil to find loudspeakers demanding an end to Chinese communist rule and a human-sized “Goddess of ” statue display in the park. (Reuters)