Torontonians hold vigil in memory of the Tiananmen Square massacre

"We are here for the people who have been silenced," one vigil attendee declared.

Beth Baisch Toronto ON

On Friday, around 200 Torontonians gathered at the University of Toronto's Tiananmen Square memorial to hold a candlelight vigil in memory of the student protests which led to the death of at least 241 people and 7,000 injured at the hands of Communist China's People's Liberation Army 32 years ago.

The event was organized by the Toronto Association for Democracy in China, whose event listing stated: "From Tiananmen Square to Victoria Park to Toronto,
Justice and democracy will prevail." This year the annual vigil held in Hong Kong's Victoria Park—the world's largest commemorative event for the massacre—has been banned, and the Communist Chinese government admitted they are "laughing" at people marking the event.

"We are here for the people who have been silenced," one attendee declared.

Winnie Ng kicked off the vigil: "We come with a heavy heart, knowing that the genocide against Uyghur's continues. Knowing that the world's largest June 4 memorial held every year in Hong Kong, Victoria Park, has now been banned."

"It's even more important for all of you to be here tonight. We need to keep the light of justice, freedom, and democracy burning. What Chinese can't do in Tiananmen Square, what Hong Kongers can't do in Victoria Park, we as Canadians, we are going to continue!" Ng said to much applause. "We have no choice but to stand firm, stand tall, and speak truth to power."

Former NDP MP Olivia Chow was in attendance, and enthusiastically had the crowd repeat, "WE WILL NEVER FORGET JUNE 4!" and emphasized that "Remembering June 4 is never a crime."

"32 years later, we are here every year. We are here because we remember, and we mourn those who are lost, and we continue to work for change," she said.

She urged everyone to think of the progress over the last 32 years, saying "the Chinese government is getting increasingly desperate," highlighting the fact that the Communist government has resorted to jailing seniors, children, artists, poets, and "even picked on Canada and jailed the Two Michaels and held the hostage. That's pretty desperate!"

Following the speeches, vigil attendees approached the memorial in small numbers to lay flowers and say prayers in honour of those lost to the massacre.

The sombre event concluded with the crowd singing "Glory to Hong Kong," a protest song which has been banned.


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