HONG KONG — Fierce clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police broke out in multiple parts of Hong Kong today (Tuesday) in the most widespread violence challenging Chinese rule as its Communist Party celebrated its 70th year in power.
Local media reported that police fired live bullets in the Tsuen Wan area, injuring a protester. There was no immediate comment from police.
Riot police fired multiple volleys of tear gas in at least six locations and used water cannons in the business district in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory as protesters turned streets into battlefields to spoil the Oct. 1 anniversary of Communist rule.
A security clampdown in the city to thwart violence that would embarrass Chinese President Xi Jinping failed to deter the protests, including a massive march in the city center.
Organizers said at least 100,000 people marched along a broad city thoroughfare in defiance of a police ban, chanting anti-China slogans and some carrying Chinese flags defaced with a black cross. Police didn’t provide an estimate of the turnout.
The smell of stinging tear gas and smoke from street fires started by protesters engulfed the Wan Chai, Wong Tai Sin, Sha Tin, Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan and Tsim Sha Tsui areas. Protesters hurled gasoline bombs, bricks and other objects at police, who responded with volleys of tear gas.
Protesters used umbrellas as shields and threw tear gas canisters back at police. Police said protesters used corrosive fluid in Tuen Mun, injuring officers and some reporters.
In Wong Tai Sin, a gasoline bomb that protesters hurled at police exploded near motorcycles parked along a pavement, creating a large blaze that was put out by firefighters. Some protesters placed an emergency water hose down a subway station to try to flood it.
A water cannon truck sprayed blue water, used to identify protesters, to disperse crowds from advancing to government offices in the city. Scores of police officers also stood guard near the Beijing’s liaison office as the battles continued across the territory.
“Today we are out to tell the Communist Party that Hong Kong people have nothing to celebrate,” said activist Lee Cheuk-yan as he led the downtown march. “We are mourning that in 70 years of Communist Party rule, the democratic rights of people in Hong Kong and China are being denied. We will continue to fight.”
Activists carried banners saying, “End dictatorial rule, return power to the people.”
Dressed in a black T-shirt and dark jeans, 40-year-old Bob Wong said his clothing expressed “mourning” over “the death of Hong Kong’s future.”