HONG KONG: Thousands took to the streets of central Hong Kong on Saturday night holding candles as they marched in memory of pro-democracy Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
Veteran activists led the solemn gathering which wove its way from the commercial heart of Hong Kong Island to China’s liaison office, with some marchers in tears.
Liu’s ashes were buried at sea on Saturday, depriving supporters of a place to pay tribute following his death on Thursday from cancer while in custody on the mainland.
Hong Kongers have already held memorial events but Saturday’s was by far the largest.
It came the day after four pro-democracy legislators were disqualified from Hong Kong’s parliament, worsening fears that freedoms in the semi-autonomous city are under serious threat from an ever more assertive Beijing.
“Loving a country is wanting it to make progress,” said marcher Emily Chau, 24.
“But this is how he was treated for being so loyal to the country.”
Chau said she feared Hong Kong’s freedoms were also now in jeopardy.
“With the disqualification of the lawmakers yesterday, it’s like this place is decaying,” she told AFP. “While we still have the chance, I want to play some kind of role.”