HONG KONG - Thousands of people joined a silent protest march in Hong Kong on Saturday night (July 15), hours after the late Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo was cremated in the north-eastern Chinese city of Shenyang and his ashes scattered into the sea.
Dressed in black and holding candles in their hands, the protesters had gathered at Chater Garden in Central where they observed a minute of silence before heading out along cordoned-off streets lined with police, towards the China Liaison Office in Sai Ying Pun district.
It was the latest mass gathering in Hong Kong in memory of Dr Liu, 61, who died of liver cancer on Thursday. Some protesters held placards calling on the Central government in Beijing to free Dr Liu's wife Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace prize in 2010.
"Liu Xiaobo is gone. The Chinese government should set his wife free," said one protester who gave his name as only Wilson, 35, an engineer.
Another protester, Mrs Boline Chan, 53, a housewife said: "I feel very angry and sad that Liu was not allowed to seek medical treatment overseas before he died. And after he died, he was not given the proper burial that he deserves.
She added: "We need to protest and let the world know how he had been treated and we need to unite and pressure the Chinese government to free his wife."
Earlier on Saturday morning, a simple funeral was held for Dr Liu, and only his wife and a few family members and other mourners were allowed to bid him farewell. His ashes were scattered into the sea hours later.
An hour into the march, there was a sudden downpour but the crowd braved the rain and continued their march in silence.
"Even the sky is crying," the protesters were heard saying to one another.
At the end of the march, the protesters lined up to sign a book of condolences outside the China Liaison Office.