June 4, 2020 / 1:23 PM / a month ago

Hong Kong police fire pepper spray to disperse Tiananmen protesters

A person wearing a protective face mask waves a Hong Kong independence flag as protesters take part in a candlelight vigil to mark the 31st anniversary of the crackdown of pro-democracy protests at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, after police rejects a mass annual vigil on public health grounds, at Victoria Park, in Hong Kong, China June 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Police fired pepper spray to disperse protesters who gathered in Hong Kong’s working class district of Mong Kok on Thursday night to mark the 31st anniversary of China’s bloody crackdown on democracy students at Tiananmen Square, witnesses said.

Earlier, thousands defied a police ban to gather with candles across the former British colony to remember the 1989 violence and accuse Beijing of stifling freedoms too on the semi-autonomous territory.

Reporting By Scott Murdoch and Carol Mang; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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