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Hong Kong police searching a man on June 4 at Victoria Park, where the annual Tiananmen candlelight vigil normally takes place. Photo: Chan Long Hei/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hong Kong police on Friday arrested an organizer of the annual Tiananmen Square vigil and sealed off parts of the park where the event is usually held, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: Thousands of people typically gather in Victoria Park on June 4 to mourn those killed by Chinese troops during the bloody 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square.

Context: The Chinese Communist Party has never allowed public vigils on the anniversary of the massacre on the mainland, but vigils were allowed in Hong Kong in the past, according to AP.

  • In March, China's government significantly impaired Hong Kong's democratic electoral system by passing a law designed to ensure only "patriotic" figures can run for positions of power.
  • Beijing also passed a security law last year that gave the government broad power to limit people's political freedom. Thousands fearing repression have fled Hong Kong to the U.K. since the law was passed.

The big picture: Friday's suppression of the planned event at Victoria Park is the latest example of the Chinese government's crackdown on rights and freedoms previously enjoyed by those living in Hong Kong.

  • Police arrested Chow Hang Tung, vice chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, early Friday morning for promoting an unauthorized assembly, according to Reuters.
  • The city has officially banned large gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic, though certain gatherings, like concerts and art fairs, were allowed to take place on Friday. Life in Hong Kong, "which recorded just one new COVID-19 case on Thursday, has largely returned to normal," Reuters noted.
  • Authorities on Friday threatened to arrest more people, warning that anyone who took part in an unauthorized assembly could face up to five years in jail.
  • Still, hundreds gathered around Victoria Park, AP reported. Students at the University of Hong Kong also gathered to participate in the washing of the "Pillar of Shame" sculpture, which honors the victims of the massacre.
People hold candles as they walk near Victoria Park in Hong Kong. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Go deeper: Blinken condemns new Hong Kong election law's "denial of democracy"

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information on Friday's gatherings.

Go deeper

Sep 8, 2021 - Axios Denver

Denver tries to "take back" Civic Center Park amid temporary closure

Fencing and closure signs installed at Civic Center Park on Sept. 7. Photo: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

Denver’s Civic Center Park is closing Sept. 15 until further notice and will reopen with new safety measures intended to crack down on crime, drug use and homeless camps.

What’s happening: Mayor Michael Hancock's administration is shuttering the park for at least two months, citing deteriorating conditions that pose public safety and health concerns, including violence, rodent infestations and improperly discarded needles.

Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell

Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot released its latest round of subpoenas on Tuesday evening, this time focusing on several of former President Trump's lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and former adviser Boris Epshteyn.

Why it matters: The panel said the four individuals subpoenaed were involved in efforts publicly promote Trump's unfounded claims of election fraud as well as efforts to "disrupt or delay" the certification of the election's results.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. warns Russia may attack Ukraine from Belarus

Belarus dictator AlexPhoto: Mikhail Klimentyev\TASS via Getty Images

The U.S. believes that Russia may use joint military exercises inside Belarus as cover for an invasion of Ukraine from the north, according to a senior State Department official.

Why it matters: New deployments to the Belarus-Ukraine border in the coming weeks — in addition to the 100,000 Russian troops already encircling Ukraine from the north, east and south — could allow Russia to open up a new front less than 100 miles from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.