Clashes between police and Hong Kong protesters descended into violence on Tuesday, with reports that a demonstrator has been shot for the first time since the widespread anti-government protests first began in June.
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Tens of thousands rallied in Hong Kong on Tuesday, hours after President Xi Jinping extolled the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China.
It marks the 17th straight week of pro-democracy protests, which began earlier this summer over a now-shelved bill that would have allowed the extradition of suspected criminals from Hong Kong to mainland China, where the courts are controlled by the Communist Party.
They’ve since morphed to reflect broader calls for reform.
The protester, reportedly a male student in second school (11th grade in the U.S.), who was shot is in critical condition, according to the South Morning China Post, citing a friend.
Video shared by Demosisto, a pro-democracy organization that advocates for self-determination in Hong Kong, appeared to show the protester shot by police at close range. The incident is likely to fuel the civil unrest.
According to the Post, police fired two live rounds, meaning at least five shots went out during the protests.
The demonstrations descended into chaos earlier in the day, as police fired tear gas and water cannons to dispel the huge crowds, some of whom responded by throwing bricks and petrol bricks.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997 under an agreement known as “one country, two systems,” which allowed the city to retain a “high-degree of autonomy” for 50 years. The agreement expires in 2047.