Hong Kong police opened fire and wounded at least one protester during a fracas broadcast live on Facebook, as chaos erupted across China’s self-governing territory during rush hour on Monday.
Footage showed a police officer drawing his weapon in the eastern district of Sai Wan Ho as he tried to detain a masked man at a road junction that had been blocked by protesters.
Another masked man then approached the officer and appeared to get shot in the chest area, falling to the ground, clutching his left side. He was later admitted to hospital where he was reported to be in critical condition.
Seconds later, two more live rounds were fired by the officer during a scuffle and another masked man fell to the ground, although the footage was less clear as to whether he was struck.
Police could later be seen detaining the two men on the ground. The first man had a pool of blood next to him and his body was limp as officers moved him around and appeared to try to tie his hands.
The second man was conscious and talking.
Hong Kong protester shot in street confrontation (3:00)
Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke, reporting from Hong Kong, said more people were beginning to gather as protesters attempt to shut down the city.
“This is a general strike targeting roads and the transport system so major thoroughfares, highways have all been blocked,” she said.
“There have been huge traffic jams across Hong Kong. Tempers have frayed. The crowds are building. They are gathering because of the escalation in anger after the student was shot this morning.”
Hong Kong protests road block
Protesters on Monday moved to block roads in the morning rush hour amid calls for a general strike [Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]
The police confirmed later on Monday that one man had been shot in Sai Wan Ho, but did not elaborate on his condition. Officers in two other districts had also drawn their guns from their holsters, the statement said.
“Police has strict guidelines and orders regarding the use of firearms,” it said. “All police officers are required to justify their enforcement actions.”
The Hospital Authority told Reuters a 21-year-old man suspected to have been wounded in Sai Wan Ho was in surgery and was in critical condition.
Police said earlier that radical protesters had set up barricades at multiple locations across the city and warned the demonstrators to “stop their illegal acts immediately”.
Hong Kong protests getting more violent as anger at police grows (3:13)
Services on some train and metro lines were disrupted from early on Monday, with riot police deployed near stations and shopping malls.
Many universities cancelled classes and there were large traffic jams in some areas.
Hong Kong has been gripped by nearly six months of large, increasingly violent rallies, with protesters’ demands including an independent investigation into alleged police brutality.
Activists blocked roads and ransacked shopping malls across Hong Kong’s New Territories and the Kowloon Peninsula on Sunday during the 24th straight weekend of anti-government unrest.
The latest violence comes after a student died in hospital last week from injuries sustained in a fall as protesters were being dispersed by police.
The protests started when the government tried to push through a controversial and now-shelved extradition bill but have evolved into a wider call for greater democracy.
Many worry that Beijing is meddling in the former British colony’s freedoms, which are guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula put in place when the territory was returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Bengbenronews