This is a first in Hong Kong since the beginning of pro-democracy protests three months ago. On Sunday, when violent clashes erupted between protesters and police in Tsuen Wan, a policeman fired "with his gun," a police officer said. However, it is not possible to know who was the target of the shot.
Further evidence that the situation is escalating, the riot police used water cannons against protesters after the tear gas fired did not have the desired effect. Until now, the police had always said that they would use this dispersal technique only in case of "large-scale disruption of public order". For one of the protesters, "with the police and protesters who are all radicalized, [they] will be" more used in the future ".
The mobilization degenerated
On Sunday again, thousands of Hong Kongers paraded quietly in heavy rain towards Tsuen Wan, about ten kilometers from the city center. But radical protesters then erected a barricade and threw cobblestones and Molotov cocktails at the police, provoking their violent reactions.
This scene is now common since June in Hong Kong, a semi-autumn territory that is experiencing its worst political crisis since its return to China in 1997. Born from opposition to a bill, now suspended, to allow extraditions to mainland China, the movement has turned into a more global campaign for more democracy and the protection of local freedoms against Beijing.
Since the beginning of the movement, the reaction of the central government has been mixed. If he has no legal right to intervene directly in Hong Kong, Beijing has resorted to a whole range of methods, from intimidation to propaganda and economic pressure to try to contain the dispute.
A second rally to support the police
In parallel with the big demonstration, several hundred people gathered in another place in the city to show their support for the police, including relatives of the agents. "I believe that during these two months, the police have been sufficiently disgraced. […] Even if the whole world spits on you, we, family members, we will not do it, "said a woman who claimed to be the wife of a police officer.
The police, regularly blasted by the protesters, have been the target for several weeks of the ire of the protesters who accuse them of violence. On Saturday, they charged radical pro-democracy protesters who had erected a barricade in the east of the city. Scuffles that marked the end of a relative lull of violence for ten days. Medical staff said that 10 people were hospitalized as a result of these clashes, without specifying which camp they came from.