People in their tens of thousands took part here Tuesday in a vigil recalling the 24th anniversary of the military repression in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, the only commemoration of the event allowed on Chinese territory.

The turnout was massive, despite the torrential rains that began falling soon after the event began, which was also attended by many people who crossed to Hong Kong from mainland China.

The number of participants varies from the organizers' estimate of 150,000 to the 54,000 reported by police.

The crowd near Victoria Park recalled the crackdown that occurred on June 4-5, 1989 in Tiananmen Square, where numerous demonstrators died at the hands of Chinese security forces, who stepped in to end weeks of nationwide pro-democracy protests.

The Chinese government has never published an official number of victims of the repression, nor has it apologized for the military attack on civilians.

At this time more than 100 people whose relatives were slain in the Tiananmen crackdown have criticized China's new president, Xi Jinping, in an open letter slamming his silence on the subject and his failure to investigate the incident.

According to a survey taken by the University of Hong Kong last month, around 68 percent of those polled believe the Chinese government did wrong in 1989.

As in previous years, activists, witnesses and survivors of the repression are asking from Hong Kong, through the annual vigil, for the establishment of an open, democratic system in China. EFE