Posted on Nov 12, 2019
Hong Kong police fired tear gas this morning in the heart of the Central financial district and at two university campuses to break up pro-democracy protests which they said were bringing the Chinese-ruled city to the “brink of total breakdown”.
The clashes came a day after police shot a protester at close range and a man was doused with petrol and set on fire in some of the worst violence seen in the former British colony since it was handed back to Chinese rule, Reuters reports.
More than 1,000 pro-democracy protesters, many wearing office clothes and face masks, rallied for a second day during lunch hour, blocking roads below some of the city’s tallest skyscrapers and most expensive real estate.
After they had dispersed, police fired tear gas at the remaining protesters on old, narrow Pedder Street. Police made more than a dozen arrests, many pinned up on the pavement against the wall of luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co.
Police later sealed off Pedder Street which was calm as office workers started leaving for home.
“Our society has been pushed to the brink of a total breakdown,” a police spokesman told a briefing, referring to the last two days of violence.
He said masked “rioters” had committed “insane” acts, such as throwing trash, bicycles and other debris onto metro tracks and overhead power lines, paralysing the transport system.
He said the man set on fire on Monday was still in critical condition and appealed for information on who was responsible.
Police on Monday fired volley after volley of tear gas in Central, and also at City University in Kowloon Tong, beneath the Lion Rock, as well as at the Chinese University on the other side of the mountain, where protesters threw petrol bombs and bricks at police.
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