Thirty-two years after the Chinese government cracked down on student protesters in Tiananmen Square, people around the world gathered to remember the bloody June 4 event and its victims.

Why it matters: Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have long rallied around the Tiananmen anniversary, which over the years has become synonymous with the struggle against the Chinese Communist Party. This year, Hong Kong officials banned a scheduled vigil for the second year in a row.

  • The CCP has never allowed public vigils on the anniversary of the massacre on the mainland, but vigils were permitted in Hong Kong in the past.
  • Thousands of people typically gather in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park on June 4 to mourn those killed by Chinese troops during the massacre.
    • Friday’s suppression of the planned event is the latest example of the Chinese government’s crackdown on rights and freedoms previously enjoyed by those living in Hong Kong, Axios’ Jacob Knutson writes.
In photos
Photo of a masked elderly lady holding a yellow umbrella and sign while surrounded by protesters
Alexandra Wong, an activist known as “Grandma Wong” who says she was held by mainland China for 14 months, protests in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong after police closed the venue where Hong Kong people traditionally gather to mourn the victims of China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown. Photo: Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images
Photo of a crowd of Hong Kong people holding up mobile phones with their flashlight on
People use their mobile phones to shine light outside Victoria Park. Photo: Hsiuwen Liu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo of a crowd of police officers standing at the entrance of a park under the night sky
Victoria Park is empty for the first time as hundreds of police officers surround the park to enforce the city’s ban against a vigil. Citizens in black shirts, along with flowers and candles, marched around Victoria Park despite heavy law enforcement and threats from Hong Kong’s national security law. Photo: Dominic Chiu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo of the Pillar of Shame, a sculpture that commemorates the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown
A member of the Hong Kong University Students’ Union cleans the Pillar of Shame as part of the annual ritual of washing the Pillar of Shame, a sculpture located on the University of Hong Kong campus that commemorates the victims of the crackdown. Photo: Hsiuwen Liu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo of a person looking at a photo exhibition commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre
Lam Wing Kee, a Hong Kong bookseller who fled to Taiwan to avoid political suppression, is seen at a commemoration booth at Liberty Square in Taipei. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo of a line of protesters holding black pro-democracy flags and standing in the rain
Protesters hold candles and flags during a protest outside Shinjuku Station in Japan to mark the anniversary. Photo: Viola Kam/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo of a group of social activists wearing blue masks and white clothing holding their fists up in protest against the Chinese government
Bangladeshi social activists from the Open Dialogue movement perform street art in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to mark the anniversary and protest the violence against Uyghur Muslim people in China. Photo: Mamunur Rashid/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo of a person speaking into a mic at an outdoor vigil
Uyghur activist Rahima Mahmut speaks at a vigil outside the Chinese Embassy in London. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images