A protester is reportedly in critical condition in hospital after police fired live bullets in Hong Kong Monday as anti-government protesters caused major disruptions to transport networks.
A purported video of the shooting shows a traffic policeman attempting to apprehend a masked man in an eastern district of Hong Kong island. Another masked man approaches and the policeman discharges three rounds, appearing to hit the second man in the abdomen.
According to AFP, one of the bullets may have struck a third man.
Disturbances were meanwhile reported in several suburbs and on university campuses, with reports of vandalism and tear gas fired during standoffs between protesters and police.
What appear to be shots can be heard on videos apparently filmed at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and shared on Twitter by local journalists. Live news broadcasts showed riot police amassed on a roadway leading to the CUHK campus. Several colleges and universities suspended classes for the day.
At Hong Kong University, law professors addressed emotional students and implored them to give up violence. “We can do nothing else,” one shouts back.
Subway services were disrupted during the Monday morning rush hour, local media reported, as protesters threw objects onto the tracks, vandalized facilities, and set fires in stations and train compartments. Several stations were closed.
Protesters also set up roadblocks at major choke points, bringing traffic to a standstill and forcing bus passengers to disembark and walk. The Cross Harbour Tunnel, the main road artery connecting the Kowloon peninsula to the financial and commercial districts of Hong Kong Island, was blocked. Facebook Live streams showed a large fire burning at the tunnel approach.
Monday’s disturbances come after a weekend of vigils and unrest as protesters vented their anger at the death Friday of a 22-year-old student, Alex Chow. Chow had been in a coma for several days after being found with serious head injuries near the site of a confrontation between police and activists.
Hong Kong’s anti-government unrest is now in its fifth month and represents the most serious challenge to Chinese Communist Party in decades. Protesters are demanding greater political freedom and have repudiated Beijing’s sovereignty over the semi-autonomous territory, which was retroceded to China in 1997 after 156 years as a British colony.
—This is a developing story