Pictures, videos on social media bear witness to Hong Kong’s violent crackdown


“They’re shooting us to hurt us,” a 24-year-old media executive told Coconuts Hong Kong this afternoon, seemingly more wounded by the fact her own police force would employ tear gas against she and her fellow protesters than the fact she’d walked into clouds of it more than once.

But it wasn’t only gas being fired by Hong Kong police.

Police Chief Stephen Lo admitted as much at a late-afternoon press conference, where he described a riot situation that demanded the use of force, including rubber bullets and bean bags fired from guns. Protesters, he said, had planned to use “metal bars” to stab the police on hand.

As he spoke, the violence outside Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building and surrounding area was only intensifying. Numerous incidents played out on Twitter, where protesters, observers and media uploaded videos of brutality.

Perhaps most shocking was this seemingly unprovoked attack by charging police in full riot gear against an unarmed man who they violently toss to the ground, then club with truncheons.

An overhead shot from a different angle only serves to better drive home the severity of the beating.

Late in the afternoon, public broadcaster RTHK revealed that one of its drivers had been struck in the head with a rubber bullet and sent unconscious and bleeding to Queen Mary Hospital. As of press time there had been no update as to this condition.

The repeated use of tear gas, meanwhile, which witnesses told us came “from every direction,” seemed to indicate a grim determination on the part of police to simply be done with it.

At one point, Coconuts reporters captured video of hundreds of protesters racing down Queen’s Road near the Pacific Place mall as they attempted to avoid smoke from tear gas canisters.

Minutes later, the same crowd had turned around and marched back up in the same direction from which they’d been driven.

Others took a more novel approach to dealing with tear gas, as with this group of men who simply doused the canister with water after it landed among them.

As of an hour ago, crowds that had once been in the city’s Admiralty neighborhood were being herded in the direction of Central, and it’s not over out there yet. Stay safe, Hong Kong. We’ll be back with another update soon.

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