Over 260 people arrested during violent protests in Hong Kong

  03 October 2019    Read: 1051
Over 260 people arrested during violent protests in Hong Kong

Hong Kong police said that 269 people were arrested at anti-government demonstrations which broke out across the city on Tuesday, as it defended the conduct of anti-riot officers. Police fired 900 rubber bullets, 230 foam rounds and 1,400 canisters of tear gas, as well as six live rounds of ammunition on Tuesday, which was China's National Day.

Police said 25 officers were injured in the National Day clashes, including some who suffered chemical burns from a corrosive liquid that was thrown at them by protesters. The liquid also wounded some journalists. Hospital authorities said more than 70 people were admitted. Yesterday, 96 protesters arrested during clashes with police on Sunday appeared in court charged with rioting, according to court documents. Their ages ranged from 14 to 39.

Hong Kong was battered by the most sustained political clashes of the year on Tuesday as China celebrated 70 years of Communist Party rule with a massive military parade in Beijing. The international finance hub has been left reeling from a shooting incident during the protests, marking the first time a demonstrator has been struck with a live round in nearly four months of increasingly violent protests. The 18-year-old was hospitalized and his condition was described by the government as stable yesterday. Opinion toward the shooting has largely cemented along ideological divides with activists condemning the police and authorities calling it a justified use of force.

Hong Kong's protests have often descended into violence late in the day and at night. A hardcore group of protesters says the extreme actions are needed to get the government's attention. Video footage of the incident shared online showed a group of protesters on Tuesday surrounding a police officer in riot gear and hitting him with rods before a group of police rushes in from the side and fire tear gas. As one protester, armed with a blue boogie board shield, hits a second officer with a rod, the policeman can be seen discharging his service weapon at close range, before the protester collapses to the ground. Hong Kong's Deputy Commissioner of Police Tang Ping-keung pushed back against criticism of the officers' actions, saying they were "undoubtedly lawful and reasonable." Tang said that "the officer felt his life and those of his fellow officers was in danger." He also had the police officer had "very limited choices" and said there "wasn't enough time and space for a warning shot." Officers involved in the shooting will not be investigated because their actions were deemed "lawful and reasonable," according to police.

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said Tuesday the shooting was "disproportionate" and warned it could risk inflaming the situation. Some U.S. lawmakers also joined in the condemnation. The Chinese foreign ministry office in Hong Kong slammed British and American politicians and accused them of condoning violence and crime. China has earlier condemned "gross interference" by Western countries, especially the U.S. and Britain, while accusing them of fomenting the demonstrations. It has denounced the protests and warned of the damage to the economy of Hong Kong, a major financial center. It also framed the protests as "terrorism," part of a pattern of increasingly ominous warnings that have raised fears it might deploy force to quell the unrest.

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