Hong Kong’s anti-government protests again turn violent

Hong Kong’s anti-government protests again turn violent


JUDY WOODRUFF: Anti-government protests in
Hong Kong erupted into chaos today, leaving two people critically injured. One protester was shot at close range by police. Elsewhere, a pro-China supporter was doused
in flammable liquid and set on fire. Hong Kong’s leader vowed to spare no effort
to bring an end to the violent demonstrations that have gripped the semiautonomous Chinese
territory for over five months. Blasts from riot guns echoed through the streets
in Central Hong Kong, the city’s business district once again ground zero for clashes
between police and protesters. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators
flooded the streets at lunch hour. They were met by police in riot gear, who
fired tear gas and sent the crowds sprinting away. Protests began in the spring, first in opposition
to a proposed law to extradite criminal suspects to mainland China. They have morphed into calls for greater freedom
and an end to attacks by police. MISS WALL, Protester: They are not doing anything
violent, and the police just shoot them. And we are so angry about the police brutality. And there is no solution, because the government
never responds to any of our requests on the police violence. JUDY WOODRUFF: The cries denouncing police
violence grew louder today after an online video showed a protester being shot. In it, an officer in Hong Kong’s eastern Sai
Wan Ho district grapples with a protester. As a masked man in black rushes toward him,
the officer shoots him in the stomach. He is now in critical condition, but stable
after surgery. Police said the shooting was justified. PATRICK KWOK PAK-CHUNG, Regional Commander,
Hong Kong Island (through translator): It all happened just in a flash of a moment. He was trying to protect himself and his pistol. JUDY WOODRUFF: Police also accused protesters
of beating up a man and setting him on fire. Hong Kong executive Carrie Lam condemned the
demonstrators and called them — quote — “the people’s enemy.” CARRIE LAM, Hong Kong Chief Executive: If
there’s still any wishful thinking that, by escalating violence, the Hong Kong SAR government
will yield to pressure to satisfy the so-called political demands, I’m making the statement
clear and loud here. That will not happen. JUDY WOODRUFF: In Beijing, China’s Foreign
Ministry repeated claims that Western governments are supporting and accelerating the protests. GENG SHUANG, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
(through translator): Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs, and no foreign
government, organization or individual has the right to intervene. We express firm opposition to anyone providing
a platform or creating conditions for activists or activities pro-Hong Kong independence. JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in Hong Kong, clashes
continued into the evening, as police fired tear gas from moving vehicles. Protesters lit fires in the middle of the
street. Police sprayed water cannons to put them out
and disperse the crowds.

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