Tear gas, petrol bombs and live fire at fresh clashes between police & protesters in Hong Kong (PHOTO, VIDEO)
The rioters set makeshift barricades on fire and hurled petrol bombs and bottles at police officers, who responded with tear gas and water cannons. The most intense street fights are said to have taken place in the Wan Chai District of Hong Kong, China’s self-governing territory.
At least 96 people were detained for violating public assembly laws and carrying weapons and firecrackers, as well as owning dangerous chemical substances, local media stated.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) and opposition group Demosisto reported that live rounds were fired and one protester was injured as a result. Later in the day, Hong Kong police chief Stephen Lo acknowledged that an 18-year-old protester was shot by the police during the clashes. The protester remained conscious when he was taken to hospital, the official added.
Several videos allegedly showing this incident have surfaced online.
In one clip, a policeman in full riot gear is standing with his back to a wall as he is surrounded by a group of protesters who are beating up another officer who is lying on the ground. A man attacks the officer from the side and hits him with a stick – right as the policeman turns around and shoots a handgun at point-blank range.
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Another shows a young man (presumably the same as in the first video) lying on the ground with part of his clothing on the right side of his chest turning red. He is seen wearing a black helmet, protective goggles, and respirator – accessories typically used by the protesters.
Earlier, the Associated Press cited a police source who confirmed that an officer indeed fired his revolver while confronting a group of aggressive protesters who were hurling objects at police.
Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) shared footage of what they said happened before the shot was fired.
Dozens of stick-wielding protesters can be seen surrounding and trashing a parked ambulance truck. Several policemen in green uniforms and riot helmets arrive to chase them off with batons.
One officer falls down during the fight. The protesters then quickly swarm around the man, pounding him with sticks as he lies on the pavement. They flee only after other officers jump to rescue their colleague.
Some policemen appear to be pointing handguns into the air and at the protesters. Two gunshots are heard but it is unclear who fired them and at what moment.
Two officers are also seen with their faces bloodied in the video. Hong Kong Police accused the protesters of throwing corrosive chemicals as well and posted photographs of chemical burns on the officers’ skin and clothes.
The months-long mass protests were initially triggered by a now-dropped extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be moved to mainland China. Hong Kong authorities eventually relented to the backlash, suspending work on the bill before vowing to formally withdraw it.
The protesters, nevertheless, have refused to back down until several of their other demands are fulfilled, like an amnesty over the riots and election reform. Some protest leaders have urged European countries and the US to intervene to support them and sanction Chinese officials. Beijing, meanwhile, has strongly condemned the rioting and warned foreign governments against inciting violence in Hong Kong.
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