On October 7th, Hong Kong entered a 4th straight day of protests, following a controversial emergency law that was passed on October 4th.
The emergency law bans the wearing of masks on the streets. The law, enacted by Chief Executive Carrie Lam using colonial-era emergency powers, has stoked a swift backlash among protesters and worries about a crackdown on civil liberties.
Dozens gathered at Maple Street Playground tonight, walking down Nathan Road after forming the human chain at TST. Everyone still wearing masks, defying the anti-mask ban pic.twitter.com/VmuLYi8lVZ
— Afifah Ariffin (@AfifahCNA) October 5, 2019
The metro station remained shut on October 4th, 5th and 6th, with reportedly many stations remaining shut on the 7th.
“As we are no longer in a position to provide safe and reliable service to passengers in the circumstances, the corporation had no choice but to make the decision to suspend the service of its entire network,” it said in a statement.
Fires were being set and petrol bombs were being thrown at riot police starting from October 4th and continuing for 4 days.
Police said an officer in Yuen Long had fired a shot in self-defense after a protester threw a petrol bomb at him, setting him on fire. They confirmed a 14-year-old boy was shot in the leg, taken to hospital and then arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer and rioting.
Police said after the police officer was isolated by protesters, he “fell onto the ground and was beaten up by the group. Facing serious threat to his life, he fired one shot in self-defense. A rioter then threw a petrol bomb at him and his body was on fire.”
A video circulating online showed the officer, wearing a white t-shirt, getting up from the floor when a petrol bomb hits him and engulfs him in flames. The officer staggers forward and manages to extinguish the fire on his clothes, but appears severely dazed. He drops his weapon and it is almost grabbed by a protester before he lunges forward and manages to wrestle it away from them.
Anti-government protesters rampaged throughout parts of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island on October 6th, targeting subway stations and Chinese-linked businesses, many of which had shut in advance but were nevertheless attacked and vandalized.
A small number of protesters also targeted a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) barracks in the area, causing police to hold up signs warning them to disperse.
The Chinese military garrison in Hong Kong raised a yellow flag as a warning to the taunts from protesters. The situation may be seen in a video published by RTHK.
Half a dozen personnel could be seen standing on top of the barracks shining flashlights at dozens of protesters below, who were aiming laser pointers and other lights at the building.
A driver mowed down protesters with a taxi cab was subsequently beaten bloody by a mob. There are videos showing the violent interaction.
The Hong Kong Hospital Authority said four people were sent to the hospital in the aftermath. One has left and three are in serious condition, including the taxi driver, the hospital authority said.
October 6th protests were not authorized by the government, and police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse those who participated. Some protesters as has become customary threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at riot police and set fires on the streets.
The night’s “extreme violence” justified the use of the emergency law, Beijing-backed Lam said in a television address.
“The radical behavior of rioters took Hong Kong through a very dark night, leaving society today half-paralysed,” she said on October 5th.
“The extreme violence clearly illustrated that Hong Kong’s public safety is widely endangered. That’s the concrete reason that we had to invoke emergency law yesterday to introduce the anti-mask law.”
China’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office said on October 4th that the protests were evolving into a revolution backed by foreign forces and could not continue indefinitely.
Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of China’s State Council said that this “cannot be endless.”
“More effective measures to stop the violence and ease the unrest” must be used, Yang said.
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