Photos show escalating violence in the Hong Kong protests as China celebrates 70 years of communist rule
James Pasley,James PasleyOct 1, 2019, 22:58 IST
A pro-democracy protester walks in front of a burning barricade during clashes with police in Wan Chai on October 01, 2019 in Hong Kong, China.Chris McGath / Getty
On October 1, despite a police ban, tens of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Hong Kong, and the demonstrations quickly clashed with police.
The day marks 70 years since the People's Republic of China was founded, but protesters in Hong Kong were calling it a "national day of mourning."
The demonstrations began in June to fight a bill that would extradite people accused of crimes to China to stand trial, but since then the protests have not relented, and the protesters demands have widened.
Tens of thousands of people ignored a police ban and protested in Hong Kong on Tuesday, the day China was celebrating 70 years as the People's Republic.
Protesters, dressed in black, called it a "national day of mourning." Some vandalized buildings, and threw petrol bombs and rocks at the police. The police fought back - one protester was shot by a live round, and is thought to be in critical condition.
It was the largest number of simultaneous protests since June, when the demonstrations began to fight an extradition bill that would have allowed people accused of crimes to be extradited to China to stand trial. Protests have continued over the months and they now have five demands, which include introducing free and fair elections in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong police issued a city-wide ban against marching for Tuesday, October 2, since it was the 70th anniversary of communist rule in China.
But from midday on, tens of thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Hong Kong to protest China's grip on the city. They were chanting "Glory to Hong Kong," and "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time."
Many were dressed entirely in black. For them it was a day to mourn the future of Hong Kong. Along with the dress code, they used umbrellas as shields against the tear gas police threw.
Many also wore wore masks to hide their identities.
But police rolled out water cannons to douse protesters in staining blue water in order to ensure they were identifiable.
The protesters were urging China to "return power to the people." This was the most simultaneous protests since people began taking to the streets in June.
The protesters have five demands: they want an inquiry into police brutality, for all of those who have been arrested to be released, and for Hong Kong to have more democratic rights. Their first demand was to stop a bill to extradite accused people to China, but the bill's been shelved ...
... and they want Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to step down. Other than photos of her face on trampled posters, Lam wasn't seen in Hong Kong on the day of the protests. The government confirmed she wasn't in the city, even though she'd invited people to celebrate the day at her home.
Across the city, 20 train stations were closed down. Operators feared a repeat of an earlier protest, where police used pepper spray on passengers on a stalled train. Here, protesters are seen vandalizing one of the stations.
A police spokeswoman told local media the police were sad about having to be violent, and did not want anyone to be injured, but they would strictly enforce the law.
It was the most violent protest to date. In addition to tear spray and physical confrontations, a policeman shot a protester was shot in the chest. In earlier protests there have been rounds fired into the sky, but this is the first known time a protester has been shot.
Police also fired tear gas in more than six different spots across the city to slow protesters ...
... and some protesters threw it right back ...
... while some others tossed bricks and Molotov cocktails.
Fires and smoke billowed across Hong Kong, and the protests continued on into the night.
Hong Kong authorities said 96 protesters had been arrested and 31 people were in the hospital.
King Chan, 57, told The Washington Post the police "are squeezing our necks so we don't breathe the air of freedom."
And 1,243 miles to the north, China carried on its celebrations with an impressive hours-long military parade that showcased its military prowess and technology.
China also used the event to unveil a new nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile called the Dongfeng 41.
And it was because of the celebration that the protests were so important, 17-year-old Apple told Time. "China is getting more powerful. If China becomes more powerful other countries might experience something like what's happening in Hong Kong now. It's important to come out and stop them," she said.