Waterloo Region Record

Hong Kong officer fires shot, police use water cannons on protesters


HONG KONG — Hong Kong police officers Sunday drew pistols on protesters who were charging them with sticks, and one appeared to fire a warning shot into the air after another officer fell, as a weekend of violent clashes brought an end to nearly two weeks of restraint.

The police also used water cannon trucks for the first time since protests began and fired rounds of tear gas and plastic bullets at protesters who threw bricks and firebombs.

The confrontat­ions in the Tsuen Wan area followed a peaceful march by more than 10,000 people. But in a pattern that has been establishe­d for months, more aggressive protesters began building barriers on city streets using sidewalk railings and bamboo poles. Soon, large numbers of police in riot gear arrived.

By early evening, the air was swirling with tear gas. The police unleashed water cannons against barriers and in the general direction of protesters.

“I don’t totally agree with what students do now, such as throwing bricks,” said Celine Wong, 38, a nurse at a private clinic who joined the march. “However, what they do is eclipsed by the violence performed by the government now.”

As the protest appeared to die down at night, a small group of demonstrat­ors smashed up the entry way of a mah-jong parlour they said had sheltered men who had attacked them weeks earlier. Then a group clashed with the police.

Jay Lau, 30, an employee at Hong Kong’s airport, said he saw a small group of officers fighting with protesters wielding bamboo sticks and metal rods. The protesters were pushing the officers down Sha Tsui Road when, suddenly, Lau said, he heard a gunshot. He said he did not see who fired.

Earlier Sunday, people who said they were relatives of the Hong Kong police rallied under pouring rain to criticize the government for its inability to find a solution to the crisis that has left front-line officers clashing with protesters for weeks on end.

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