This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Beijing and Hong Kong both took to the streets on Tuesday; one celebrating the birthday of the People’s Republic of China, the other protesting China’s increasingly heavy-handed rule and to call for democracy.
As Hong Kongers tried to sabotage China’s highly choreographed celebration, police shot an 18-year-old demonstrator in the chest, the first lethal force used by police in months of protests against the Chinese government.
Hong Kong’s government was prepared to quell widespread unrest on Tuesday, which was also the 70th “National Day” in China. Police deployed about 6,000 officers, and the city shut down its public transit by the end of the day.
But those measures didn’t prevent protesters from taking over the city’s streets — and drawing the world’s eyes away from the pomp and circumstance in Beijing, as President Xi Jinping oversaw a day of Communist pageantry.
While Hong Kong roiled in protest, the region’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, attended National Day celebrations in China’s capital city, where the People’s Liberation Army flexed it’s latest military hardware, most of which was proudly made in China, including a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile with the ability of striking the US.
As Lam celebrated the birth of the republic, citizens in Hong Kong used their day-off to celebrate its death, throwing paper notes, known as “Hell money,” a common last rite in funeral ceremonies.
“I don’t understand why we have to celebrate for this party,” said Mr. Leung, a young black-clad protester told VICE News. “We do not agree with the things the Chinese communists do. They murdered their people, and they do not agree to the universal values including the freedom.”
Protesters, who’ve marched for 17 consecutive weeks, have forced the government to give in to their first demand, the withdrawal of an extradition bill that could have given the Mainland government powers to circumvent Hong Kong’s independent judiciary.
For now, they won’t stop until the government gives in to the other four demands they still have: amnesty for those arrested, ending the use of rioting charges, an investigation into police violence, and universal suffrage so Hong Kong can choose its own leaders.
“I believe that the spirit of fighting for democracy and freedom, will be spread to the mainland people.” Leung said. “They will stand up and fight for their freedom as well in China.”
Video produced by: Fitz Suen, Mac Chau, Yee Tung Suen and Angad Singh
Edited by: Adam Deniston and Rachel Win