Thousands march in Hong Kong to protest police wounding student

Thousands of protesters gathered in Hong Kong on Wednesday to express their anger after an unprecedented clash in which a protester was shot dead by a policeman.

Thousands of demonstrators, including uniformed employees, gathered in a park before heading to a commercial district in the city, shouting anti-government and police slogans.

Hours earlier, hundreds protested in front of the school of the young protester, Zhang Shi-ken, who was wounded by 18-year-old police bullets.

"There are no hooligans, only tyranny," chanted pupils gathered in front of the school as they filmed pictures of the incident filmed.

Tuesday, which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, has seen unprecedented clashes and violence in Hong Kong since the start of the protest movement.

Zhang Shi-ken was wounded in the Tsuen Wan district, 10 kilometers from the city center, after a policeman shot him at close range and hit him at the chest level as protesters attacked his unit.

After being taken to hospital in critical condition, his condition has since improved, authorities said.

This is the first demonstrator to be hit by live bullets since the clashes between pro-democracy and security forces began.

An Indonesian journalist covering the Sunday protests has lost her eyesight permanently after she said police shot her in the eye with rubber bullets while covering the protests, her lawyer confirmed Wednesday.

"Doctors treating Vibe Indah today unfortunately told her that the injury to the police by rubber bullets would result in her permanently losing sight in her right eye," lawyer Michael Fiedler said, adding that the extent of the damage would be assessed after the surgery.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets on Tuesday in defiance of Beijing, marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The day of the worst violence in nearly four months of protests.

Various neighborhoods in the city have been seen for hours, long clashes until late at night.

Hong Kong police chief Stephen Lu said the shooter was afraid for his life and "in a very short time, he made a decision and shot the attacker."

Demonstrators object to this account of the incident and confirm that the policeman stormed the crowd and did not fire warning shots.

Marco, a colleague of Zhang Shi-ken, said his friend, who has a passion for basketball, was angry at the erosion of freedoms and violent police repression.

"If he (Zhang Shi-kin) notices a problem or injustice, he opposes him and confronts him with courage rather than silently providing support," Marco told AFP.

Hospitals confirmed they had received more than 70 people on Tuesday, while police said 30 policemen had been wounded. Some suffered burns from a burning liquid thrown by protesters. Journalists also suffered burns from the fluid.

Police said they shot six times and arrested 269 people, aged between 12 and 71, a record since the start of the protest movement.

Police fired about 1,400 tear gas bombs, 900 rubber bullets, 230 sponge bombs, 190 empty bullets and five warning shots on the day.

In comparison, police fired 1,000 tear gas canisters during the first two months of protests.

On Wednesday, 96 protesters, who were arrested on Sunday during a day of exceptionally violent movements, were charged with participating in clashes with police. They were aged between 14 and 39.

Beijing's massive celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Communist regime of China were overshadowed by the violence that shook Hong Kong.

Pro-democracy activists, who began their moves in June, intended to use the anniversary to further express their rejection of Beijing's policy and denounce the erosion of freedoms and a violation of the "one country, two systems" principle on which the former British colony was returned to China in 1997.

 

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