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Clashes across city as protesters turn out in defiance of ban, seeking to embarrass Beijing on China's 70th anniversary, A protester has been shot in the chest as police fired live rounds during clashes in Hong Kong, according to activists and local media.

The Demosisto protest group shared a video on social media that appeared to show a police officer firing a handgun into the chest of an approaching protester at near-point-blank range. The video, captured and posted online by a Hong Kong University student union group, showed the police officer was surrounded by protesters throwing objects when he opened fire. A police official confirmed an officer had opened fire in the Tsuen Wan area, and that a protester had been hit. The man's friend told reporters he was in a critical condition at Princess Margaret hospital in Kwai Chung.

It is the first time a protester has been struck by police live fire since the political unrest began in June, though officers have fired warning shots into the air on several occasions in the past. Clashes broke out across at least five locations on Tuesday as tens of thousands denied a protest ban to take to the streets, aiming to embarrass Beijing as it celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of communist China. Police have opened fire with tear gas and water cannon in several places, and protesters have started a number of fires. The city's Hospital Authority confirmed one person was in critical condition at Princess Margaret, and that 15 had been injured in total during the violence between protesters and police.

The unrest has caused a near-complete shutdown of the city's MTR metro system and lead to urgent warnings from the government for protesters to evacuate the area around the main Legislative Council headquarters. Planned events to mark China's "National Day" in Hong Kong had already been scaled down or cancelled, with police warning that they anticipated the situation would be "very, very dangerous".

The Civil Human Rights Front, a group that has organised some of the largest rallies of recent months, said it wanted protesters to treat the 70th anniversary as a "day of grief", urging protesters to dress in black. Organisers said at least 100,000 people marched along a broad city thoroughfare in defiance of a police ban, chanting anti-China slogans and some carrying Chinese flags defaced with a black cross. Many demonstrators tossed wads of fake "hell" bank notes usually used at funerals into the air. "The leaders who won't listen to our voice, this is for them," marcher Ray Luk told the Associated Press.

"Today we are out to tell the Communist Party that Hong Kong people have nothing to celebrate," said activist Lee Cheuk-yan as he led the central march. "We are mourning that in 70 years of Communist Party rule, the democratic rights of people in Hong Kong and China are being denied. We will continue to fight." Activists carried banners saying "End dictatorial rule, return power to the people". The protests contrasted dramatically with military and civilian parades presided over by President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

The city's anniversary festivities included a tightly choreographed - and high-security - display of military hardware, some of it believed to be new ballistic missile technology. As floats went by representing 56 regions and ethnicities from across the nation, 70,000 balloons were released - alongside 70,000 doves of peace. Later, a major fireworks display will be held in honour of the People's Republic's birthday. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, who was in Beijing for the ceremony, smiled as a Hong Kong float passed by.

 

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