RATCHETING UP

Police use water cannons and draw guns as tensions rise in Hong Kong

Guns drawn.
Guns drawn.
Image: AP Photo/Vincent Yu
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Bursts of violence marked an uptick in tensions between protesters and riot police in Hong Kong during the twelfth consecutive weekend of pro-democracy demonstrations.

Police brandished handguns and fired water cannons into crowds in response to protesters throwing petrol bombs. While the protests have been predominantly peaceful, tear gas has been frequently used by police to disperse crowds, and there have been several episodes of violence against demonstrators in the past few months.

A warning shot fired yesterday by a Hong Kong police officer was the first since the protests began. The Hong Kong city government is urging peace, as increased violence would “push Hong Kong to the verge of a very dangerous situation,” officials said.

The increased violence is occurring amid a larger Chinese military presence outside of Hong Kong. Chinese state media also issued an ominous warning on the government’s “authority, but also its responsibility to intervene when riots take place in Hong Kong.”

Protesters clash with police in Kwun Tong on Aug. 24.
Protesters clash with police in Kwun Tong on Aug. 24.
Image: Chris McGrath/Getty Images
A protester uses a tennis racket to hit a tear gas canister on Aug. 24.
A protester uses a tennis racket to hit a tear gas canister on Aug. 24.
Image: Reuters/Tyrone Siu
Riot police shoot a tear gas canister as demonstrators take cover behind barricades in Tsuen Wan on Aug. 25.
Riot police shoot a tear gas canister as demonstrators take cover behind barricades in Tsuen Wan on Aug. 25.
Image: Reuters/Thomas Peter
Demonstrators aim laser pointers toward police lines during a protest in Hong Kong on Aug. 25.
Demonstrators aim laser pointers toward police lines during a protest in Hong Kong on Aug. 25.
Image: AP Photo/Kin Cheung
A protester throws a Molotov cocktail as protesters clash with riot police on Aug. 25 at Tsuen Wan.
A protester throws a Molotov cocktail as protesters clash with riot police on Aug. 25 at Tsuen Wan.
Image: Reuters/Tyrone Siu
Riot police use a water cannon on demonstrators in Tsuen Wan on Aug. 25.
Riot police use a water cannon on demonstrators in Tsuen Wan on Aug. 25.
Image: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
Police clash with demonstrators in Hong Kong on Aug. 25.
Police clash with demonstrators in Hong Kong on Aug. 25.
Image: AP Photo/Kin Cheung
Police clash with protesters after a demonstration on Aug. 25.
Police clash with protesters after a demonstration on Aug. 25.
Image: Reuters/Tyrone Siu
Officers point their guns towards protesters after a clash on Aug. 25.
Officers point their guns towards protesters after a clash on Aug. 25.
Image: Reuters/Tyrone Siu
Police officers point their guns at protesters in Tseun Wan on Aug. 25.
Police officers point their guns at protesters in Tseun Wan on Aug. 25.
Image: LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images
Demonstrators attack a mahjong shop run by mainland Chinese during a protest in Hong Kong on Aug. 25.
Demonstrators attack a mahjong shop run by mainland Chinese during a protest in Hong Kong on Aug. 25.
Image: AP Photo/Kin Cheung