Hong Kong protests: Violence returns as police officer shoots protester during clashes

Hong Kong is in the fifth month of protests that began in June over a proposed extradition law and have expanded to include demands for greater democracy and other grievances.

In a fresh escalation of violence in Hong Kong, the police opened fire and wounded at least one protester on Monday, Reuters reported. The video footage showed a protestor lying in a pool of blood as the police subdued a woman nearby as plastic crates were thrown at the officers. Services on some train and subway lines were also disrupted early on Monday, with traffic snarled and riot police deployed near stations and shopping malls.

The shooting is likely to inflame anger further in this semi-autonomous Chinese territory after a student who fell during an earlier protest succumbed to injuries Friday and police arrested six pro-democracy lawmakers over the weekend. On Sunday, protestors vandalised a subway station and a shopping mall as the police made arrests in areas across Hong Kong.

The police had arrested and charged six pro-democracy lawmakers Saturday, a day after the death of a 22-year-old university student Chow Tsz-Lok after falling from a parking garage when police fired tear gas during clashes with protesters. The six lawmakers, who were later freed on bail, were charged with obstructing the local assembly during a raucous May 11 meeting over a now-shelved China extradition bill.

Violence flares up

Violence erupted late Friday when protesters took to the streets following memorial events in multiple locations to mark Chow’s death. Thousands of people had also gathered on Saturday night at a vigil for “martyrs”. Though the vigil ended peacefully, many attendees called for revenge after the student’s death from injuries sustained during a protest.

Last week, the protests marked a dark turn after an anti-government assailant stabbed a pro-Beijing Hong Kong lawmaker Junius Ho during his election campaign Wednesday, police said. A video circulating on social media showed a man giving flowers to Ho and asking permission to click a photo with him. The man then drew a knife from his bag and stabbed Ho’s chest but was quickly overpowered by Ho and several others.

Ho has become the target of protestors over his alleged links of violence against them.

Ho was campaigning for November 24 district elections to pick 452 councillors, a low-level poll held every four years but closely watched this year as a gauge of public sentiment after five months of protests increasingly marked by violence by hardcore activists and hardening positions among public officials, AP reported.

Lam invokes colonial-era emergency powers

Last month, Hong Kong police shot a teenage boy on China’s National Day, as violent protests erupted across the Chinese-ruled city hours after its embattled leader Carrie Lam invoked colonial-era emergency powers last used more than 50 years ago.

Hong Kong is in the fifth month of protests that began in June over a proposed extradition law and have expanded to include demands for greater democracy and other grievances. Activists complain the government is eroding the autonomy and Western-style civil liberties promised when this former British colony returned to China in 1997.

Many have seen the extradition bill that sparked the protests as a sign of Beijing infringing on Hong Kong’s judicial freedoms and other rights guaranteed when the former British colony returned to China in 1997.

Protests have occurred daily at times, disrupting business and piling pressure on the city’s beleaguered government.

Protesters are angry about what they see as police brutality and meddling by Beijing in the former British colony’s freedoms, guaranteed by the “one country, two systems” formula put in place when the territory returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

China denies interfering and has blamed Western countries for stirring up trouble.

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