For the first time since the pro-democracy rallies started in Hong Kong four months ago, an 18-year-old student was reportedly shot in the chest during a protest in the Tsuen Wan district this afternoon, multiple reports state. This, as China celebrates its 70th year of communist rule.
Citing local reports, online videos, and a lawmaker, The Washington Post reported that the still unidentified male student was shot with a live round from a revolver allegedly fired by the police during a clash. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the protester is a Form Five, the equivalent of Grade 11, student.
In a video of the incident circulating online, riot police can be seen clashing with masked protesters who were using umbrellas and metal poles to strike the officers. One officer is seen kicking a protester before firing in close range, causing the latter to drop to the ground.
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the man received aid from medical officers and was taken to the Princess Margaret Hospital, but was later transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. A friend of the protester confirmed to the SCMP that he is in critical condition. He is now undergoing surgery.
Protests once again escalated in Hong Kong today amid festivities that celebrated the anniversary of communist China's founding. Protesters attempted to unlock doors to government offices and tore down posters from the celebration. Some were even seen wearing Guy Fawkes masks and burning paper portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
“We want to humiliate China on its national day,” one protester told the SCMP.
Clashes occurred in at least five locations, including the Hong Kong Island districts of Causeway Bay and Admiralty—where government offices are located—and spread across the harbour onto Kowloon and the New Territories.
Videos and photos from the rallies have been circulating online, including one that shows a woman being slapped as police appear to hold her down to the ground, The Guardian reported. At least 15 other people including one journalist, were also reportedly injured by rubber bullets and bean bag rounds.
Authorities reportedly fired tear gas and blue dye from water cannons to disperse protesters. Meanwhile, Hong Kong police said protesters allegedly used petrol bombs and corrosive fluids during a rally in the town of Tuen Mun, injuring multiple officers and reporters.
Many establishments are closed in anticipation of today’s protests and most of Hong Kong is paralysed as streets are covered in tear gas and a third of subway stations are closed.
Today’s events are just the latest in a months-long series of rallies. Protesters initially demanded for the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill that would allow suspected criminals to be tried in mainland China, but the movement has turned into a larger call for greater autonomy.