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Image: A girl takes part in a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong

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Thousands Join Hong Kong Vigil for Tiananmen Square Anniversary

Tens of thousands gathered Sunday in Hong Kong's Victoria Park to mark the 28th anniversary of China's crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

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Image: People attend a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong

People hold candles during the vigil on June 4, 2017 in Hong Kong to mark the anniversary of the 1898 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in and around Beijing's Tianamen Square.

Vincent Yu / AP
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Image: A girl takes part in a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong

On a somber night, many held aloft flickering flames, sang songs and listened to speeches calling on Beijing to fully atone for the crackdown.

Bobby Yip / Reuters
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Image: Thousands of people take part in a candlelight vigil to mark the 28th anniversary of June 4th crackdown, in Hong Kong

Organizers of the vigil said the event drew some 110,000 people, enough to fill more than six football pitches. Hong Kong police estimated the crowd at 18,000.

Bobby Yip / Reuters
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Image: Annual vigil for Tiananmen Square massacre

This year's events are especially politically charged, coming just a month before an expected visit of President Xi Jinping to mark 20 years since Hong Kong was handed back to China.

Jerome Favre / EPA
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Image: A woman reacts during a candlelight vigil to mark the 28th anniversary of the crackdown of the pro-democracy movement at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, at Victoria Park in Hong Kong

A woman holds her hands in prayer.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters
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Image: A woman takes part in a candlelight vigil to mark the 28th anniversary of the crackdown of the pro-democracy movement at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, at Victoria Park in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, is the only place on Chinese soil where a large-scale commemoration takes place, symbolizing the financial hub's relative freedoms compared with the mainland.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters
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Image: A woman takes part in a candlelight vigil to mark the 28th anniversary of the crackdown of the pro-democracy movement at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, at Victoria Park in Hong Kong

Nearly three decades after Beijing sent tanks and troops to quell the 1989 student-led protests, Chinese authorities ban any public commemoration of the event on the mainland and have yet to release an official death toll. Estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand killed.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters
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