When Hong Kong’s summer of protests began in June, the city was so shocked by police unleashing 150 canisters of tear gas and using their batons, it helped bring two million people into the streets to demonstrate again and denounce police brutality.
Four months of rolling protests later, they used nearly 10 times as many tear gas rounds in 24 hours in a futile bid to control the city as China celebrated 70 years of communist rule last Tuesday. That day police shot a protester with live ammunition for the first time, seriously injuring the teenager. Three days later another schoolboy was shot in the thigh.
There have been other serious casualties, including a journalist blinded in one eye, and more than 1,100 people have been treated at hospitals for injuries from the protests.
Water cannons laced with dye, beanbags, rubber and sponge-tipped bullets, pepper spray, baton charges and mass arrests have all become common. Gangs of thugs accused of triad links have also attacked demonstrators.
Deepening violence has been central to the long standoff between the city’s authorities and its people. Police brutality has fuelled public anger, feeding the protest movement, and as both sides became more entrenched their tactics have escalated. [Continue reading…]