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.”