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Protester shot by police as violence escalates in Hong Kong

Protesters had taken to the streets as mainland China marks 70 years of communist rule.

Anti-government protestors set fire to block traffic in Hong Kong
Anti-government protestors set fire to block traffic in Hong Kong
Image: Gemunu Amarasinghe/PA Images

Updated Oct 1st 2019, 12:25 PM

A PRO-DEMOCRACY protester has been shot as fierce clashes with police broke out in parts of Hong Kong in the most widespread violence yet against Chinese rule as its Communist Party celebrated its 70th year in power.

A Hong Kong police official said the protester was shot when an officer opened fire with his revolver in the Tsuen Wan area. It is the first time a protester has been shot, in an escalation of the months-long unrest that has rocked the city.

A video of the incident, shot by the City University Student Union and shared on social media, shows a dozen black-clad protesters hurling objects at a group of riot police pursuing them.

One officer, who was surrounded, drew his revolver and pointed it at the group. He fired and one protester collapsed on the street while others fled.

Local media reported that police fired live bullets in the Tsuen Wan area, injuring a protester. There was no immediate comment from police.

70th anniversary

Riot police fired multiple volleys of tear gas in at least six locations and used water cannons in the business district of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory as protesters turned streets into battlefields to spoil the 1 October anniversary of Communist rule.

A security clampdown to thwart violence that would embarrass Chinese President Xi Jinping failed to deter the protests, including a massive march in the city centre.

Organisers said at least 100,000 people marched along a broad city thoroughfare in defiance of a police ban, chanting anti-China slogans and some carrying Chinese flags defaced with a black cross.

2.45737139 Police use blue dyed water to disperse protesters Source: Vincent Thian/AP/PA Images

Many demonstrators tossed wads of fake “hell” bank notes usually used at funerals into the air. “The leaders who won’t listen to our voice, this is for them,” said marcher Ray Luk.

Thousands of people confronted police in multiple locations across the city, the largest number of simultaneous protests since the unrest began in early June over a now-shelved extradition bill that activists say was an example of how Hong Kong’s freedoms and citizen rights are being eroded.

The movement has snowballed into an anti-Chinese campaign with demands for direct elections for the city’s leaders and police accountability.

The smell of tear gas and smoke from street fires started by protesters engulfed the Wan Chai, Wong Tai Sin, Sha Tin, Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan and Tsim Sha Tsui areas. Protesters hurled petrol bombs, bricks and other objects at police, who responded with volleys of tear gas.

Protesters used umbrellas as shields and threw tear gas canisters back at officers. Police said protesters used corrosive fluid in Tuen Mun, injuring officers and some reporters.

In Wong Tai Sin, a petrol bomb hurled at police exploded near motorcycles parked along a pavement, creating a large blaze that was put out by firefighters. Some protesters placed an emergency water hose down a subway station to try to flood it.

2.45735374 Anti-government protesters march past police headquarters. Source: Gemunu Amarasinghe/PA Images

A water cannon truck sprayed blue water, used to identify protesters, to disperse crowds from advancing to government offices in the city. Scores of police officers also stood guard near Beijing’s liaison office as the battles continued.

“Today we are out to tell the Communist Party that Hong Kong people have nothing to celebrate,” said activist Lee Cheuk-yan as he led the central march.

“We are mourning that in 70 years of Communist Party rule, the democratic rights of people in Hong Kong and China are being denied. We will continue to fight.”

Activists carried banners saying “End dictatorial rule, return power to the people”.

The protests contrasted with Beijing’s anniversary festivities marked with a colourful parade and display of new missile technology.

prc70yearschina-beijing-national-day-celebrations-cn A formation of military flags takes part in a military parade during the celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Beijing. Source: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, who was in Beijing for the ceremony, smiled as a Hong Kong float passed by.

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