Police Officer Fires the First Shot in Hong Kong Protests

On Sunday, the first shot was fired in the Hong Kong protests. Residents took to the streets months ago to express their opposition to an extradition bill they fear would place Hong Kong citizens at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party. Protests have ramped up in recent weeks as Chinese tanks moved south, threatening another Tiananmen Square Massacre. This weekend had been the twelfth consecutive weekend of protests, yet no shots had been fired before Sunday.

A video from the South China Morning Post shows protesters rushing at police with rods and umbrellas before a police officer fired a shot.

Police also fired water cannons toward protesters, although the water fell short of the protesters.

Hong Kong Police said they arrested 29 protesters on Saturday and more on Sunday.

In the New Territories, demonstrators hurled bricks and Molotov cocktails a day after police used tear gas on them and some protesters threw firebombs at police, The Wall Street Journal reported. The clashes led a police officer to fire the first shot of the protests — a warning shot in the air.

As protesters charged with rods and umbrellas, one of the officers fell, leading six of his colleagues to draw their guns — and one to fire the warning shot, police said.

"Pointing the gun at the sky was the best option under the situation with no other choice," Senior Superintendent Yolanda Yu Hoi-kwan told reporters early Monday. Yu said that officers’ lives were under threat  and the warning shot was fired in order to prevent injuries to bystandars, journalists, and protesters. You said 15 officers had been injured on Sunday.

She added that the radical demonstrators "say they are protesters, but their actions have far left the bounds of acceptable or rational behavior."

In another part of the city, two police trucks with water cannons were put in pace, and the cannons were briefly turned on, though their streams fell short of the protesters. Protesters crouched behind barricades and threw firebombs and bricks at police.

Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.