(Update 1: adds police statement, updates headline, lede, minor edits)
Shanghai, China, Jun 4 (EFE).- Hong Kong police on Friday arrested two people for allegedly publicizing a banned candlelight vigil to be held in memory of the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
At a press conference, a Hong Kong Police spokesman said a 36 year old woman – believed to be vice-chair of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, Chow Hang-tung – and a 20-year-old man – reportedly a food courier – had been arrested for “advertising or publicizing an unauthorized assembly.”
“They were found to have used their social media accounts to advertise or publicize a public meeting that had been prohibited by the police,” said detective senior superintendent Terry Law.
“If anyone takes part in or advertises or publicizes an unauthorized assembly the maximum penalty is five years in prison,” he said, adding the pair had been detained for further investigation.
Chow was arrested on Friday morning near her office, public broadcaster RTHK said.
It added that the lawyer had said that she would light a candle Friday night in Victoria Park to mourn the victims on the 32nd anniversary of Tiananmen Square massacre, the vigil for which has been banned by the police for the second year in a row citing reasons to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The anti-covid measures active in Hong Kong currently prohibit public gatherings of more than four people despite the fact that, according to RTHK, there has been no case of local transmission of unknown origin in more than a month in the former British colony.
Chow’s organization, popularly known as the Hong Kong Alliance (HKA), tried to have the police ban lifted to be able to hold the vigil again and, not receiving the support of the appeal board, asked its supporters not to meet Friday in Victoria Park, where it takes place every year.
Last year, despite the police ban, thousands of people gathered in the park to commemorate those who died after the military crackdown of pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on this day 32 years ago.
In light of the ban, the HKA also called off an online tribute for fear of violating the national security law imposed a year ago by Beijing. EFE