HONG KONG: Police in Hong Kong fired tear gas in the city’s central business district as violence flared on Monday (Nov 11) following a shooting earlier in the day.
During the lunchtime break in Central, a downtown district that hosts blue-chip international conglomerates and luxury retailers, police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters, many dressed in office attire, chanting “murderers” and “triads”.
Live footage and videos showed office workers and commuters fleeing as Pedder Street and Queen’s Road in Central were filled with smoke from the tear gas during the lunchtime rush hour.
Many expressed anger over the shooting that morning.
“He was not carrying any weapon, what threat could he pose on the officer,” a 29-year-old office worker, who gave her first name Elaine, told AFP as fellow office workers coughed and wretched from the acrid clouds.
Tear gas was also fired at Hong Kong Polytechnic University with witnesses reporting tense standoffs between students, protesters, and police. All classes were canceled.
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets, while protesters hurled homemade petrol bombs at police. Students set fire to debris at the Polytechnic University on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour.
“I am worried about my safety but I will still come out,” said Anson, a 20-year-old student at the university who only gave his first name.
“I am willing to sacrifice my life for Hong Kong.”
One video circulated by protesters on messaging channels from Kwai Fong district showed a police officer trying to drive his motorbike multiple times into protesters who had gathered on a road.
Hong Kong police had earlier opened fire and wounded at least one protester in the district of Sai Wan Ho, a fresh escalation of violence as anti-government demonstrations enter their sixth month.
Police fired live rounds at protesters on the eastern side of Hong Kong island, Cable TV and other Hong Kong media reported. Cable TV said one protester was wounded when police opened fire.
Video footage showed a protester lying in a pool of blood with his eyes wide open. Police also pepper-sprayed and subdued a woman nearby as plastic crates were thrown at officers, the video shared on social media showed.
The Hospital Authority told Reuters a 21-year-old man suspected to have been wounded during the incident in Sai Wan Ho was admitted to hospital and was undergoing an operation.
Cable TV reported the unidentified protester was in a critical condition.
Police said in a statement radical protesters had set up barricades at multiple locations across the city and warned the demonstrators to “stop their illegal acts immediately”.
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