Published On: Tue, Oct 1st, 2019

Hong Kong protests: What is happening in Hong Kong today – Latest as protests turn violent | World | News

Anti-government protests in Hong Kong have reached fever-pitch as thousands took to the streets in defiance of a protest ban on what is the 70th anniversary of Communist rule in China. One activist has been shot in the chest by police on Tuesday, the first injury from live ammunition since the protests began. Previously police had been using rubber bullets, but an 18-year-old was shot and is undergoing surgery, with police saying he was hit “near his left shoulder”.

Protesters took to the streets in Hong Kong on Tuesday, blocking roads in some areas on what they are describing as a “day of grief”.

Multiple rounds of tear gas were fired by police, in what was the most widespread in nearly four months of street clashes.

The demonstrations have plunged the former British colony into its biggest political crisis in decades and pose the most serious popular challenge to China’s President Xi Jinping since he came to power.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong police fired tear gas and water cannons at petrol-bomb throwing protesters.

Read More: Hong Kong protests: What was the Hong Kong umbrella movement?

Demonstrators marched through Hong Kong chanting “fight for freedom” denouncing China’s Communist Party on its 70th anniversary.

Activists also carried banners saying “End dictatorial rule, return power to the people”.

Protesters lit fires in Sham Shui Po district to prevent riot police from getting close, and Molotov cocktails were thrown towards authorities.

The shooting of the 18-year-old sparked further anger, and the use of live ammunition condemned by the UK.

Read More: London Stock Exchange to reject Hong Kong’s £32bn over China fears 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the use of live rounds was “disproportionate”.

Mr Raab called for “restraint” on all sides and for a “constructive dialogue” to address the “legitimate concerns” of the Hong Kong people.

Mr Raab said in a statement: “Whilst there is no excuse for violence, the use of live ammunition is disproportionate, and only risks inflaming the situation.

“This incident underlines the need for a constructive dialogue to address the legitimate concerns of the people of Hong Kong.

Read More: Hong Kong activists beg Britain to take action against China

“We need to see restraint and a de-escalation from both protesters and the Hong Kong authorities.”

However, the police have argued the 18-year-old was shot in defence.

Senior Superintendent Yolanda Yu Hoi-kwan told the South China Morning Post: “He fired a round at the assailant to save his own life and his colleagues’ lives.

“The police force really did not want to see anyone being injured, so we feel very sad about this.”

Why are there protests in Hong Kong?

Protests began in June following planned legislation which would have allowed the extradition of suspected criminals to mainland China.

The bill was later withdrawn, but the protests have since grown to include a broader pro-democracy movement.

In April, May and June, widespread demonstrations were held on the streets of Hong Kong, with protestors storming government buildings and tube stations.

In August, Hong Kong International Airport was the target of protestors, causing hundreds of flight cancellations.

On September 26, city leader Carrie Lam was trapped by protesters for hours in the Queen Elizabeth Stadium after holding her first “open dialogue” with the people.

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