The battle for Hong Kong continues, as police fire tear gas at protesters and 1,000 pro-democracy activists take over the city’s financial district and fire catapults at cops
- More than 1,000 people rallied in the centre of Hong Kong at lunchtime today
- Police fired tear gas as protesters threw stones and fired catapults at police
- Yesterday a protester was shot by police while activists set another man on fire
Violent clashes resumed in Hong Kong today as protesters threw stones and fired catapults at police and occupied the heart of the city’s financial district.
More than 1,000 people rallied in a lunchtime protest today, blocking roads beneath some of the city’s tallest skyscrapers as police fired tear gas in reply.
Many protesters were wearing office clothes and face masks, and some crouched behind umbrellas as they overran the city centre for a second day.
As they rallied there were chants of ‘fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong’ and ‘five demands, not one less’, referring to their five-point manifesto.
One protester was shot and another man set on fire on Monday, leaving both men critically wounded on one of Hong Kong’s worst days of violence.
Armed: Hong Kong protesters fire a catapult at police during a protest at the City University today, on another day of clashes following severe violence on Monday
Mass protest: Demonstrators wearing masks rally in the central business district in Hong Kong today, many of them holding up five fingers to represent their five demands
Clashes: A pro-democracy protester throws stones to block a road during a lunchtime flash mob in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial centre today
‘Let’s stop focusing on the result. The result is all this chaos and madness. But what is the root cause? We don’t have a fully democratic system,’ said one demonstrator, a 25-year-old property manager.
‘We want to enjoy air-conditioning and a beer with friends. No Hong Konger wants this, but the government is forcing us to take things to such a dramatic [level].’
Another protester called Emily was wearing a black mask and swimming goggles on the front line on Tuesday.
In her bag she was carrying a gas mask and a a bowl to cover tear gas canisters when they land on the street.
‘I won’t take part in the attacks, I am here to try to protect the kids,’ the finance worker said.
Police had yesterday fired volley after volley of tear gas in Central, where protesters blocked the streets and where most shops had pulled their shutters down today.
At Hong Kong’s City University, a group of protesters were seen firing a catapult from a footbridge,
Masked: A group of protesters wearing face masks and office clothes hold up their hands to represent their five demands, which include the resignation of chief executive Carrie Lam
Shielded: Pro-democracy protesters block a road during a lunchtime flash mob in the centre of Hong Kong today, some of them hiding behind umbrellas
Attack: One of the protesters, wearing goggles, a face mask and hat and carrying a backpack, hurls stones to block a road during the lunchtime protest
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, speaking to media after a weekly meeting with advisers, called the blocking of the morning commute ‘a very selfish act.’
Lam’s resignation is one of the protesters’ five demands.
Tension eased as the lunch hour ended, but many people milled around the streets, in between the bricks and barricades made of debris. Riot police, who earlier raised black flags warning of tear gas, had disappeared.
The Chinese University in the New Territories said some people had broken into a storeroom and made off with bows, arrows and javelins. All were later retrieved, it said.
There was chaos earlier as people thronged metro stations only to stream out again after some train services were suspended.
Universities and schools also cancelled classes with the city on edge after a day of violence on Monday.
One protester was shot at close range by a Hong Kong police officer while activists set another man on fire after dousing him in petrol as a fresh round of violence erupted across the city.
Occupation: A group of protesters – one of them wearing a Guy Fawkes mask – occupy a bridge at Hong Kong University during the demonstrations
Hands up: A group of women wearing masks raise their arms to signal their five demands today
Teamwork: Office workers and pro-democracy protesters form a human chain to pass bricks during a demonstration
Tension: A protester prepares to fling a rock from a catapult on a walkway near City University while another person takes evasive action
According to local media, the man who was shot had a kidney and part of his liver removed in a hospital operation.
In footage broadcast live on Facebook, a Hong Kong policeman drew his weapon in a scuffle with protesters and fired at one of them in the stomach.
Police commander Patrick Kwok later said the protester had been trying to snatch the officer’s gun, according to Hong Kong media.
The shooting immediately sparked further anger at alleged police brutality in the former British colony.
On top of that, another man was badly wounded after he was doused in petrol and set on fire after remonstrating with protesters in separate clashes at Ma On Shan Plaza.
Horrifying footage of the attack showed the man being splashed with fuel and engulfed in flames after arguing with protesters on a footbridge and telling them ‘you are not Chinese’.
The man managed to rip off his flaming shirt but was also critically injured in hospital after suffering severe burns.
A demonstrator wears a Guy Fawkes mask during an anti-government protest in Central
A masked man walks past a small fire in a rubbish bin with a large crowd of protesters behind him
A Hong Kong police officer (pictured opening fire) shot at masked protesters on Monday morning – hitting at least one in the torso – during clashes broadcast live on Facebook
Horrifying footage showed this man being splashed with petrol and set on fire in a walkway after remonstrating with Hong Kong protesters and telling them ‘you are not Chinese’
More than 260 people were arrested on Monday, police said, bringing the total number to more than 3,000 since the protests escalated in June.
The protests were sparked by a since-abandoned bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China.
However, they have mushroomed into a wider rebellion against Beijing and a demand for more democracy, including direct elections for Hong Kong leaders.
The bill sparked fears of Beijing’s influence in Hong Kong despite the freedoms guaranteed to the city when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
China guaranteed 50 years of freedoms, but 22 of them have passed already and young people in Hong Kong today will see that deadline expire in their lifetimes.
Police tactics during the demonstrations, in which more than 3,300 people have been arrested, have fuelled further anger and calls for an investigation into alleged brutality.
Protesters also want Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to resign, but she remains in post and has refused to make any major concessions to the demonstrators.
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