A Hong Kong protester was shot with a live round by police on Tuesday during demonstrations that followed street celebrations in Beijing marking 70 years of Communist Party control.
The shooting is the first use of deadly force by police officers after months of unrest and protests.
Hong Kong police sources have confirmed to multiple outlets that the protester was shot in the chest and is in critical condition. The police are expected to make an official announcement in a press conference later today, according to BBC.
Police pull the gun at close range and shot at the protestor in the chest.#hongkongprotest #chinazi #prayforhk #teargas #HumanRights #cityu #protest #FreedomHongKong #StandwithHK #StandWithHongKong #antielab #反送中 #홍콩시위 #weconnect #勇武 #抗爭 #hongkong #催淚彈 #riotpolice pic.twitter.com/MnXq0GR3he
— Editorial Board CityUSU (@cityusuedb) October 1, 2019
Local English-language outlet Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) said in a statement that it was withdrawing all reporters on the street, after a journalist was hit in the head with a projectile.
As the Chinese mainland celebrated seven decades of unbroken Communist control, efforts to quell pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong escalated. China doubled its military force on the island over the weekend to around 12,000 soldiers and police began to fire warning shots of live ammunition, as well as tear gas and water cannons, to dispel protestors.
Update: 4:30 p.m.
The U.K.’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, slammed the shooting in a statement. “This incident underlines the need for a constructive dialogue to address the legitimate concerns of the people of Hong Kong,” it read.
The victim, a 18-year-old, was taken to the hospital and is undergoing surgery. According to a source from the South China Morning Post, he remains in critical condition.
In a nighttime press-briefing, Hong Kong police chief Stephen Lo defended the actions of his officers, claiming the use of live ammunition was “lawful and reasonable.” Lo also revealed that a total of six live rounds were fired on Tuesday during widespread clashes between police and protestors, although no other shootings have been reported.
25 officers were injured and more than 180 people arrested during the course of the day, prompting Lo to call Tuesday “one of Hong Kong’s most violent and chaotic days.”
So far, no official statement has been issued from the U.S. government on the incident. On Tuesday morning, President Trump congratulated Chinese president Xi Jinping on Twitter for the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic, which was marked by a large military parade in the Chinese capital