Hong Kong police shot at least one protester on Monday during rush hour as anti-government demonstrators blocked roads and called for a day of strikes, following clashes at the weekend.
In video captured by local media, a police officer who was struggling to subdue a protester fired three live rounds at demonstrators in Sai Wan Ho. One demonstrator, shot at point-blank range in the chest, fell to the ground.
The video, taken by Cupid Producer, was circulated widely online after protesters blocked public transit stations during the morning rush hour. It followed the death of a student protester on Friday who fell from in a car park during a demonstration. Apple Daily reported that two teenagers were shot and injured on Monday.
In a statement, the police did not comment on the incident but said “radical protesters” had set up barricades in multiple locations, “causing serious obstruction to traffic”. The condition of the protester who was shot at close range is not clear.
The early morning clash is likely to further escalate already high tensions between citizens, protesters, and the police. After the shooting, a crowd in Sai Wan surrounded the cordoned-off area, shouted at police and called them “murderers”. Police were later seen using pepper spray on the crowd.
The police said protesters had blocked the Cross Harbour Tunnel, linking Kowloon to Hung Hom, and had lit fires in Shatin and Tuen Mun, obstructing traffic. Several mass transit railway (MTR) lines were delayed or suspended. Some protesters were seen smashing gates and flooding an MTR station in the New Territories. Some public facilities have been closed early and at least two universities have cancelled classes for the day.
Hong Kong is facing its most serious political crisis in decades as anti-government protests over the last five months have shown few signs of stopping. Public anger reached a new level on Friday after the death of a 22-year old demonstrator who succumbed to injuries sustained earlier in the week when he fell one storey in a car park during a protest.
In the days after his death, demonstrators vandalised restaurants and stores seen by protesters as pro-government, hurled molotov cocktails at a police station, and clashed with police. In a statement in the early hours of Monday, police said 88 people had been arrested for unlawful assembly, possessing offensive weapons, criminal damage, and covering their faces while at an unlawful assembly.
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