DHe said the day was going to be “very, very dangerous,” the Hong Kong police warned on Monday. On Tuesday, it was sadly certain: For the first time since the beginning of the protest movement, a protester of live ammunition from a police vehicle was hit. The Hong Kong newspaper “Oriental Daily” reported that the man was in critical condition. The victim should be a student. The police confirmed that the incident involved live ammunition.
In a video that circulates on the Internet, you can see a police officer shoot at close range on a demonstrator. This had previously attacked him with an iron bar. Other activists seemed to have circled the officials. Hong Kong media report that the injured demonstrator was hit in the left breast. Pictures show him bleeding and with an oxygen mask.
A death would probably lead to a dramatic escalation of the situation in Hong Kong. The local government had always stressed that it was a sign of police restraint that no one had yet died.
At least five shots have been fired
It was not the only incident of this kind on Tuesday. The South China Morning Post reports that the police have fired at least five rounds of live ammunition. In one case, activists with long poles had attacked a police vehicle. There, too, the officials were in the minority against the attackers. It was not until a warning shot in the air that the radical activists retreated. The police have repeatedly warned in recent weeks that they may be forced to use potentially lethal force if the lives of their security forces are at risk.
The 17-week protest movement has been preparing for October 1st. In several neighborhoods there were violent clashes between protesters and the police. The activists threw fire bombs and set fire to barricades. The security forces used tear gas and water cannons. A registered “funeral march” on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China had been banned by the police.
The symbolic day is seen as an auspicious moment for activists to escalate the situation in Hong Kong and increase pressure on the central government in Beijing. Among other things, they want to ensure that an amnesty is issued for the more than 1,600 arrested demonstrators and that an independent investigation of police violence is carried out. The escalation of violence in Hong Kong overshadows the celebration of the founding of the People's Republic, which President Xi Jinping wanted to use to underpin his claim to power. The loss of face on this symbolically important day increases the danger that China could intervene militarily in the conflict. That would be in the spirit of a small radical faction among the activists who are looking for a direct confrontation with Beijing.
(dayToTranslate) Police (t) South China Morning Post (t) Founding Day (t) Protest Movement (t) Hong Kong