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Trump lauds China; police chief laments one of Hong Kong’s ‘most violent and…

by Ace Damon
Trump lauds China; police chief laments one of Hong Kong's 'most violent and...

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Police ended a fight on Tuesday between Beijing supporters and pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong on the 70th anniversary of the founding of communist China. (October 1st)
AP Domestic

A pro-democracy protester was shot and at least 180 were arrested when violent clashes shook the streets of Hong Kong on Tuesday while China celebrates 70th anniversary of communist regime.

Beijing marked National Day and "national rejuvenation" with a military parade and fireworks, but in Hong Kong tens of thousands of protesters held a "national sadness" march. Some black-clad protesters clashed with police, who fired water cannons, tear gas and even bullets to suppress the crowd.

Fires burned in the streets of Hong Kong, many subway stations were closed and many shops were closed when police warned residents to stay in their homes.

Police Chief Stephen Lo said more than two dozen police officers were injured in a series of clashes with protesters in what he described as "one of Hong Kong's most violent and chaotic days."

Lo said police, fighting crowds throwing bricks and incendiary objects, fired a total of six live rounds during the day and night. At least two were fired in the air, he said.

President Donald Trump took note of the birthday on Twitter, praising Chinese President Xi JinPing, but not mentioning Hong Kong: "Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people for the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China!"

In Hong Kong, the video recorded by a group of students seemed to show several protesters throwing objects at the police chase. A policeman drew his gun and fired, and a protester collapsed when the others fled.

“The so-called National Day is a day of mourning. We are in mourning for those who sacrificed themselves for democracy in China, ”former Rep. Lee Cheuk-yan told South China Morning Post. "It's 70 years of suppression. We regret that and also condemn the fact that the Hong Kong government, in conjunction with the Chinese government, has denied the people of Hong Kong the right to democracy."

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Senior police superintendent Yolanda Yu Hoi-kwan said police were "saddened" that an 18-year-old man was shot near his left shoulder.

"A large group of protesters attacked police officers," she said. "As a police officer felt that his life was under serious threat, he fired at the aggressor to save his own life and the lives of his colleagues."

She added that protesters were repeatedly warned to stop breaking the law.

"The police force really didn't want to see anyone getting hurt, so we feel very sad about it," she said, adding that "we will strictly enforce the law."

What to know: Hong Kong prepares for violence on the eve of National Day celebrations

Hong Kong's pro-democracy residents have long accused China of slowly encroaching on its rights since Britain ceded the city administration in 1997. The issue sparked months of massive and increasingly violent protests earlier this year after a government proposal to change extradition laws to allow suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for trial.

The Hong Kong government withdrew the proposal, but protesters seized the moment to push for more freedoms – and investigations into police behavior during the protests.

On Tuesday, the government marked the day in silence with a flag raising and receiving that was closed to the public. Meanwhile, in Beijing, 60,000 people gathered in Tiananmen for a gala after a military parade in which China launched its Dongfeng-41 intercontinental strategic nuclear missiles, dubbed the country's newest and most powerful nuclear war deterrent.

Related: Violent protests in Hong Kong again: Chinese flag trampled, street fires ignited

Among the revelers in Beijing was Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, the target of much of the contempt of protesters in the semi-autonomous territory of more than 7 million people.

Most shops and businesses were closed in Hong Kong, some to mark the holiday, some to protest. Several subway stations and major shopping malls, scenes of violence in recent weeks, have been closed by the government.

In a Facebook post, police warned the public to stay home and out of the fight.

"There are riots in Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and the new territories," the post said. "Protesters started fires and caused massive damage to property, injuring many people. Police urgently urge all members of the public to stay in safe places, avoid going outdoors and be aware of the latest situation."

Read or share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/10/01/hong-kong-protester-shot-china-national-day-violence-parade/3827818002/

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