02 October 2019 01:47
It's difficult to imagine how it goes back - what next for Hong Kong? Sky's Alex Crawford reports from the troubled city as the tension boils over on the streets. It feels like Hong Kong has crossed a rubicon - on a day which was set aside for patriotic pride. But the awful reality is, for many, it seemed inevitable. Tension has been racing up the temperature gauge for weeks now, with the violence definitively soaring upwards.
Even so, the news of a policeman shooting a young pro-democracy protestor at point blank range has shocked and outraged his fellow marchers. And they were already fuelled by a deep-seated anger and resentment towards the police. "They treat us like cockroaches," one masked demonstrator told us. Image: Protestors stood off against riot police in Shatin area "We are Hong Kongers and they are Hong Kongers. But we are fighting for freedom and democracy. They are just fighting for themselves." Advertisement The shooting sparked some ugly, savage fighting between protesters and police. The demonstrators wanting democracy were also baying for blood. They wanted police blood spilt - and they made sure that happened. Young people, who'd normally be studying for degrees or in school, used bamboo sticks and iron poles to whip policemen, smacking their faces and backs, surrounding them like a frenzied mob. This was hatred unleashed. Image: Police unleashed dyed water cannons at protestors, as the marched through the city And yet when the police snatch squads spread across the city, hunting down anyone with a mask, an umbrella and a backpack, the city's bars and restaurants opened their doors to shield them. "Come in here, come in here," one shouted, as they shepherded the panicked protesters inside a range of different eating houses. Outside the hanging festive Chinese lanterns, the road was strewn with black gloves, t-shirts, umbrellas and respirator masks. Less than a handful of live rounds have been fired by police before during these nearly four months of protests - but never directly at a protester. The police justified their actions, saying the shooting was legal and reasonable. "It's heart-breaking," a police spokeswoman said. But they insisted the officer believed both his and his colleague's lives were in danger.:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker On a day when Beijing hoped the former British territory would be celebrating 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, there were multiple arson attacks, multiple shooting of water cannons, multiple firing of teargas and rubber bullets. And a policeman fired at a protester who was 18 - a schoolboy in the fifth form. The bullet entered the left side of his chest. He was knocked to the ground, tripping over a policeman as he went down. Another protester who raced to his help was kicked in the face by a second policeman and the teenager lay on the ground, bleeding and calling for medical help. "My chest hurts," he said, "I need to go to hospital." There was sheer hatred on view in Hong Kong on October 1. The schoolboy has been arrested for assaulting a police officer and has had surgery to remove the bullet. He's still in a critical condition. But Hong Kong has somehow moved into a different phase - and it's difficult to imagine how it goes back to the way it was before now. After 70 years of communist rule, China has become one of the world's greatest powers. Here are the moments that have shaped it. There couldn't have been a more stark contrast with what was happening in China. While Beijing was enjoying the pomp and ceremony of a lavish state occasion, young students were lying bleeding on the streets of Hong Kong. Twenty-five police officers were injured on China National Day - and 180 people arrested with 61 demonstrators hurt. Their ages ranged from 11 years old to 71 years old. But the wounds suffered by Hong Kong - one of the true Goliaths in world financial markets - are deep, deep chasms. What happens now?