Hong Kong - Hong Kong police shot and wounded one protester who hospital officials said was in critical condition on Monday as the Chinese-ruled territory spiraled into rare weekday violence in the 24th straight week of pro-democracy unrest.
Police fired live rounds at protesters on the eastern side of Hong Kong island and said one protester was wounded.
Video footage showed a man lying in a pool of blood with his eyes wide open. Police also threw a woman to the debris-littered street and pepper-sprayed her in the face as plastic crates were thrown at officers.
Protests have occurred almost daily, sometimes with little or no notice, disrupting business and piling pressure on the government. However, it was rare for tear gas to be fired during working hours in Central.
The violence usually begins after dusk falls.
Protesters built barricades under the hot autumn sun and set fires in the street.
The Hospital Authority told Reuters a 21-year-old man suspected to have been wounded in Sai Wan Ho, in the eastern area of Hong Kong island, was undergoing an operation in hospital and was in critical condition.
Police said in a statement radical protesters had set up barricades at multiple locations across the city and warned the demonstrators to “stop their illegal acts immediately”.
They did not comment immediately on the shooting.
Police first began using live rounds as warning shots in August and have shot an 18-year-old protester and a 14-year-old, both of whom survived.
Anson Yip, a 36-year-old Sai Wan Ho resident, said protesters were throwing rubbish to create a road block when police ran to the scene.
“They didn’t fight and the police ran and directly shot. There was three sounds, like ‘pam, pam, pam’,” Yip said.
“They (the protesters) are against the government, that’s why the police just shot them,” he said.
Police later fired tear gas in the same area where the protester was shot. Protesters and residents formed a barricade of polystyrene boxes around the bloodstain next to a pedestrian crossing after police forensic teams left the scene.
A 24-year-old man, one of several office workers gathered at the scene after the shooting, said: “When I arrived the road was blocked and people were yelling at the police, calling them murderers.” The man gave only his surname of Wing.
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.
Some have called for independence, a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing.
China denies interfering and has blamed Western countries for stirring up trouble.
The latest violence comes after a student died in hospital last week following a fall as protesters were being dispersed by police.
Violence flared at several university campuses throughout the morning as news of the latest shooting spread, with witnesses reporting tense standoffs between students, protesters and police. All classes were canceled.
Key dates in Hong Kong's anti-government protests
February 2019 – Hong Kong’s Security Bureau proposes amendments to extradition laws that would allow extraditions to countries, including mainland China, beyond the 20 states with which Hong Kong already has treaties.
March 31 - Thousands take to the streets to protest against the proposed extradition bill.
April 3 - Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam’s government introduces amendments to the extradition laws that would allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.
April 28 – Tens of thousands of people march on the Legislative Council to demand the scrapping of the proposed amendments.
May 11 – Scuffles break out in the legislature between pro-democracy lawmakers and those loyal to Beijing.
May 30 – Concessions to the extradition bill introduced but critics say they are not enough.
June 6 – More than 3,000 Hong Kong lawyers dressed in black take part in a rare protest march.
June 9 - More than half a million people take to the streets.
June 12 – Police fire rubber bullets and tear gas during the city’s largest and most violent protests in decades. Government offices are shut.
June 15 – Lam indefinitely delays proposed extradition law.
July 1 - Protesters storm the Legislative Council on the 22nd anniversary of the handover from British to Chinese rule, destroying pictures and daubing walls with graffiti.
July 9 - Lam says the extradition bill is dead and that government work on it had been a “total failure”.
July 21 - Men in white T-shirts, some armed with poles, storm a train at rural Yuen Long station, attacking passengers and passers-by, after several thousand activists surrounded China’s representative office.
July 30 - Forty-four activists are charged with rioting, the first time the charge has been used during the protests.
Aug. 9 - China’s aviation regulator demands Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific suspend personnel who have taken part in the protests. The airline suspends a pilot, one of the 44 charged, the next day.
Aug. 14 - Police and protesters clash at Hong Kong’s international airport after flights were disrupted.
Aug. 21 - Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, delays its Hong Kong listing of up to $15 billion.
Sept. 2 - Lam says she has caused “unforgivable havoc” and would quit if she had a choice, according to a recording of remarks to business people.
Sept. 3 - Lam says she had never asked the Chinese government to let her resign.
Sept. 4 - Lam announces the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill. Critics say it is too little, too late.
Sept. 17 - Lam pledges to hold talks with the community to try to ease tensions.
Sept. 26 - Protesters trap Lam in a stadium for hours after her first “open dialogue”.
Oct. 1 - City rocked by the most widespread unrest since the protests began as China’s Communist Party rulers celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. Police shoot an 18-year-old protester in the shoulder.
Oct. 4 - Lam invokes colonial-era emergency powers to ban face masks, sparking violent protests. A police officer shoots a 14-year-old boy in the thigh.
Oct. 16 - Lam abandons her policy speech amid lawmakers’ jeers. Prominent rights activist Jimmy Sham is beaten by four men wielding hammers and knives.
Oct. 23 - Extradition bill is formally withdrawn.
Oct. 29 - Authorities disqualify pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong from standing in upcoming district elections.
Oct. 31 - Preliminary data shows Hong Kong slid into recession for the first time in a decade in the third quarter.
Nov. 2 - Protesters vandalize China’s official Xinhua news agency, smashing doors, setting fires and throwing paint.
Nov. 3 - A man with a knife bites off part of a politician’s ear and slashes several people after a shopping mall rally turns into a conflict with police.
Nov. 4 - University student Chow Tsz-lok, 22, falls from the third to the second floor of a parking lot as police disperse protesters.
Nov. 6 - A knife-wielding man attacks pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho.
Nov. 8 - Chow dies, the first student death during the protests.
Nov. 11 - Police fire live rounds at protesters on the eastern side of Hong Kong island, one person wounded.