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Tuesday 21 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C
AP/PA Images Protesters burn a China 70th anniversary celebration banner in Hong Kong last night.
# unrest
Teenager in serious condition after being shot in fresh Hong Kong protests
The incident is understood to have triggered another wave of mass protests overnight.

A 14-YEAR-OLD is in serious condition after being shot in the leg during protests in Hong Kong. 

A Hospital Authority spokesman said the teen was in serious but not critical condition.

The teen became the second victim of gunfire in the protests that began in June. An 18-year-old protester was also shot at close range by a riot police officer on Tuesday.

The incident is understood to have triggered another wave of mass protests overnight.

Spontaneous rallies broke out across Hong Kong after Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced an emergency law yesterday, with large crowds of office workers blocking roads in the heart of the Central commercial district.

Across the city demonstrators later vandalised subway stations, started street fires and trashed businesses with mainland China ties as police fired tear gas in multiple locations.

“The government doesn’t listen to us. So we are upping our game,” said 32-year-old protester Nathalie, as hardcore demonstrators trashed the MTR station in the previously calm neighbourhood of Tseung Kwan O.

Today, lines of people queued at cash machines of shuttered banks in Hong Kong. All subway and train services were suspended. The closure of the entire MTR network that handles more than four million trips a day, including the express line to the Hong Kong international airport, was a major and quite exceptional disruption for the usually never-resting but now edgy and restive territory of 7.5 million people.

“From MTR to EmptyR,” tweeted activist Joshua Wong, a key player in 2014 protests that foreshadowed the past four months of demonstrations. Snowballing into a sustained outburst of anti-government and anti-China fury, the youth-led protests have plunged the international hub for trade and finance into its deepest crisis since the territory reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

After widespread overnight arson attacks, looting, fighting with police and beatings, the government has appealed for a public shift in attitude against rioting.

hong-kong-protests AP / PA Images Riot policemen march on a street in Hong Kong. AP / PA Images / PA Images

John Lee, the government’s security secretary, said by not condemning violence, people are stoking it.

“What is adding oil to violence is people’s support for these acts,” he said. “What is important is that everybody comes out to say, ‘No, society will not accept violence.’”

But even many peaceful protesters say violence has become a means to an end, the only way for young masked protesters to force the government to bend.

As a group of black-clad youths in protective gear rushed past him, many carrying bamboo sticks, a property industry worker who came out with his wife Friday night to show his opposition to the mask ban expressed his admiration for those confronting police.

“I know they have done terrible things” he said. “Can you believe how brave they are?”

He gave only his first name, Alex. He and his wife, Pauline, both donned masks that covered their mouths to hit streets in central Hong Kong where clouds of police tear gas to disperse protesters also caused spluttering tourists and Friday night revelers to flee, eyes stinging.

rally-against-hong-kong-emergency-law-and-mask-ban-in-london-04-oct-2019 SIPA USA / PA Images Protesters hold placards during the demonstration. SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

Embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam insisted that criminalising the wearing of masks at rallies and her use of rarely deployed emergency powers to introduce the ban without legislative approval were not a move toward authoritarian rule or at the behest of the Chinese government.

International observers are worried, however, that her resort to the Emergency Ordinance that had lain dormant since last used to quell riots in 1967 could be a harbinger of harsher measures in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory deeply attached to its special freedoms and fearful of becoming a tightly controlled city like all the others in China.

The mask ban went into effect today. Two activists filed legal challenges late Friday on grounds it would instill fear and curtail freedom of assembly, but a court denied their request for an injunction.

Lam announced the measure Friday afternoon as thousands of masked protesters crammed streets in the central business district, with some offices closing early and spilling workers into the demonstrations.

Protesters shouted “Hong Kong people, resist!”

Under the cover of darkness, masked protesters rampaged, setting fires, setting up makeshift road blocks that backed up traffic and vandalizing subway stations, China-linked business and other property.

With reporting by AFP 

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