At least one Hong Kong protester was shot with live ammunition by police Monday morning as tensions soared over a planned general strike that disrupted commuter traffic across the city.
The protester, who appeared to be unarmed, was shot in the stomach by a police officer as he was trying to tackle another demonstrator in a traffic intersection, video circulating on social media shows.
The condition of the protester is unknown. The young male appeared listless, though still breathing, as a riot officer rolled him over from a pool of his own blood. An angry crowd gathered hurling plastic crates at the police before an ambulance arrived and took the injured protester away. Local media reported a second person was also shot.
The incident highlighted a chaotic morning in the city gripped by five months of sporadic protests. In addition to the shooting, riot police fired tear gas on one university campus and demonstrators blocked major arteries and disrupted train service. Debris was reportedly used to block one rail line and a fire was set in one train car.
The clashes came a day after police made dozens of surprise arrests Sunday at shopping malls using undercover personnel.
Police could be seen guarding major intersections in riot gear across Hong Kong on Monday in apparent anticipation of the general strike and planned disruptions.
Anger over the police force and its tactics has been soaring since the death Friday of Alex Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old student who died of injuries sustained from falling from the third floor of a parking garage. It’s unclear what caused his fall, but demonstrators widely believe he was fleeing police firing tear gas.
Monday’s shooting in Sai Wan Ho, a neighborhood in eastern Hong Kong Island, marks the third time police have shot a protester with live rounds, an especially rare occurrence in Hong Kong. Young demonstrators were also shot by police on Oct. 1 and Oct. 4. Both survived.