Police shot a protester in Hong Kong Tuesday as officers employed live rounds in an effort to control escalating pro-democracy demonstrations in the city on the 70th anniversary of Communist rule in mainland China, according to NBC News.
Hong Kong officials reported that at least 31 people were injured Tuesday, with two of them in critical condition and one in serious condition.
The shooting victim was an 18-year-old male who was shot at approximately arms-length distance in the chest near the left shoulder during an altercation with police. He was conscious as he was transported to the hospital. Senior Superintendent Yolanda Yu said the lives of the officers "were under serious threat" during the confrontation.
Video shows the protester swinging a baton at the officer before being shot:
Protesters aimed bricks and molotov cocktails at police, who responded with tear gas and water cannons, turning the streets of the Chinese financial hub into a dangerous battleground. Police accused protesters of attacking them with "corrosive fluid," posting pictures of an officer who allegedly was hit with it.
"Rioters have used corrosive fluid in Tuen Mun area, injuring multiple Police officers and reporters," read a tweet by Hong Kong police. "The Police strongly condemn the violent acts and appeal to members of the public to mind their personal safety."
Protests in Hong Kong have been occurring since March in response to the proposal of the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation bill, which would have created an extradition agreement with other jurisdictions, including Taiwan and mainland China. Protesters fear the encroachment of mainland China into Hong Kong affairs.
Protests began in March and escalated sharply over the summer, with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators participating. The bill was suspended in June and eventually withdrawn on Sept. 4, but Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has resisted other protester demands, which include the release of protesters who have been arrested, the opening of an independent inquiry into police brutality, a retraction of the official designation of the protests as riots, universal suffrage, and Lam's own resignation.