Updated Oct 1, 2019

On China anniversary, violence erupts between Hong Kong police and protesters

Hong Kong police fire water cannons and blue dye from the central government complex toward protesters. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images

Violent clashes erupted across Hong Kong between police and protesters as tens of thousands defied a marching ban on Tuesday, China's 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule, the New York Times reports.

What's happening: A police officer shot a pro-democracy protester in the first incident of its nature since the protests started months ago, reports AP, which called the event an "escalation of the monthslong unrest that has rocked the city."

  • Riot police fired tear gas on protesters who hurled firebombs, per Bloomberg.
  • Outside Hong Kong's Legislative Council, police used water cannons and blue dye on demonstrators in an attempt to prevent them from getting near the building, according to CNN.
  • Protesters were being arrested across the Asian financial hub, CNN reports.
  • Hong Kong police claimed in a tweet, "Rioters have used corrosive fluid in Tuen Mun area, injuring multiple Police officers and reporters."
  • Before the protest, numerous train stations closed in Hong Kong and the city went into unprecedented lockdown as authorities attempted to prevent China's anniversary events from being overshadowed by the riots, according to Reuters.

The big picture: Hong Kongers have enjoyed a high degree of autonomy since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997, and protesters are concerned there may be a crackdown by Chinese authorities.

Go deeper: China's split-screen: Hong Kong protests vs. Communist celebration

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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Police fire tear gas during a rally in the Tsim Sha Tsui district in Hong Kong on Sunday. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong riot police used tear gas and water cannons on thousands of demonstrators to break up a rally against police brutality Sunday, Reuters reports. Many demonstrators donned banned face masks, it noted.

Why it matters: Hong Kong authorities hoped the withdrawal of an extradition bill that set off months of protests in the Chinese territory would calm unrest in the Asian finance hub. But protesters are concerned that the high degree of autonomy they've experienced since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997 is under threat from Chinese authorities.

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Activity in Hong Kong was on pause Saturday after a ban on face masks, used by protestors to conceal their identities from the government, prompted violent protests Friday, reports Bloomberg.

What's happening: Businesses, banks and rail services closed for the first time in nearly 20 years, per Bloomberg. Protesters came out on Saturday, but in smaller numbers due to the shutdown trains, reports AP. This is the 18th weekend of protests in Hong Kong.

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Murder suspect Chan Tong-kai, whose case prompted Hong Kong's government to introduce a bill that would've exposed Hong Kongers to extradition to mainland China, was released from prison Wednesday, the BBC reports. He was released as officials were preparing to formally withdraw the controversial bill, per AP.

Why it matters: The bill triggered months of massive demonstrations in the Chinese territory that morphed into a wider pro-democracy protest movement that's become embroiled in U.S. politics. Congress has raised China's ire by pressing ahead with a bill supporting the Hong Kong protesters, and the NBA has become involved in a standoff with Chinese officials over the movement.

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