An Indonesian journalist suffered an injury to her right eye after riot police fired a projectile at her face while trying to disperse demonstrators at a protest on Hong Kong Island on Sunday.
Veby Mega Indah, an associate editor with Suara Hong Kong News, was livestreaming Sunday’s anti-government protest in Wan Chai.
In a Facebook live stream for the outlet, Indah is filming from a footbridge connecting Wan Chai MTR station to Revenue Tower.
A large number of protesters and reporters were on the footbridge at the time, around 4:50pm.
At about 32 minutes into the video as riot police retreat, and as protesters start inching forward, a shot can be heard, and someone in the background can be heard yelling, “First aid! First aid!” before Indah hits the ground.
Protesters and journalists rushed to her immediate aid. Paramedics arrived at the scene after 5pm and took her to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital for treatment.
Various videos posted online show Indah wearing a high-visibility vest and helmet with the words “PRESS” written on them.
In the video below, someone can be heard yelling, “There are journalists here! Don’t shoot!” One of the officers can be seen aiming and then discharging his firearm directly at reporters, prompting someone to yell, “Fuck you!”
According to Apple Daily, Indah was conscious but unable to move, her right eye was ruptured, and she could be left permanently blind in the right eye. It’s not clear from local media reports if it was a bean bag round or a rubber bullet that was fired.
In a statement published this morning, the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association condemned the “use and threat of violence towards journalists covering events in Hong Kong,” and said they would be investigating.
Meanwhile, Foreign Correspondents’ Club president Jodi Schneider has repeated calls for the authorities to launch an independent inquiry over the Hong Kong Police Force’s handling of the protests, including incidents of police preventing journalists from doing their job.
We @fcchk join business, legal and other civic groups in calling for an independent inquiry into authorities' actions amid the #HongKongProtests — in our case into violence against journalists and interference with press coverage. After yesterday, the need is even more clear. https://t.co/Blh9lR6Ovi
— @jodi (@jodifsbloomberg) September 29, 2019
The Indonesian Consulate told HK01 that they have visited Indah in hospital and would be monitoring her condition closely.
Indah was not the only journalist injured during Sunday’s protests. RTHK reported that one of their video journalists was struck on the hand with a police baton, and a now viral Stand News video shows an officer – with a grin on his face – pepper spraying a photographer in the face.
Indah is not the first person to have been hit in the eye by a projectile at the anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong either. In August, a female first aider became one of the faces of the protest after she was hit by a suspected bean bag round in Tsim Sha Tsui in August.
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