HONG KONG (AP) — Police fired tear gas at protesters who littered streets with bricks and disrupted morning trains Tuesday for the second day in a row as Hong Kong’s five months of anti-government demonstrations turned increasingly violent.
Protesters and police faced off in and around several university campuses as classes were cancelled. Subways were partially shut down, and passengers on one commuter train disembarked short of the station and were escorted along the tracks in video shown on Hong Kong television.
In a widely distributed video of the shooting Monday morning, an officer shooed away a group of protesters near an intersection, then drew his gun on a protester who approached him. As the two struggle, another protester in black approaches. The officer fired at the second protester, who falls to the ground.
It was the second police shooting of a protester since the demonstrations began, although police have repeatedly drawn firearms to ward off attacks. Police said they arrested more than 260 people on Monday, raising to 3,560 the number of arrests since the movement erupted in June.
Few details were available about the burning incident in the Ma On Shan neighborhood. Video posted online shows the victim arguing with a group of young people before someone douses him with a liquid and strikes a lighter.
Police fired tear gas and deployed a water cannon in parts of the city and charged onto the campus of Chinese University, where students were protesting. Online video also showed a policeman on a motorcycle riding through a group of protesters in an apparent attempt to disperse them.
The protests initially began over a proposed law that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China, where they could face opaque and politically sensitive trials. Activists saw the bill as another sign of an erosion in Hong Kong’s autonomy and civic freedoms, which China promised would be maintained for 50 years under a “one nation, two systems” principle when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.
Lam eventually withdrew the extradition bill but has insisted the violence stop before an further political dialogue can take place.
District council elections on Nov. 24 are seen as a measure of public sentiment toward Hong Kong’s government. Pro-democracy lawmakers have accused the government of trying to provoke violence to justify canceling or postponing the vote.
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