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Hong Kong’s anti-government protests again turn violent

Anti-government protests in Hong Kong erupted into chaos Monday, leaving two people critically injured. One person was shot at close range by police, while separately, a China supporter was set on fire. Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, vowed to “spare no effort” to end the violent demonstrations that have gripped the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for five months. Judy Woodruff reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Anti-government protests in Hong Kong erupted into chaos today, leaving two people critically injured.

    One protester was shot at close range by police. Elsewhere, a pro-China supporter was doused in flammable liquid and set on fire. Hong Kong's leader vowed to spare no effort to bring an end to the violent demonstrations that have gripped the semiautonomous Chinese territory for over five months.

    Blasts from riot guns echoed through the streets in Central Hong Kong, the city's business district once again ground zero for clashes between police and protesters. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators flooded the streets at lunch hour. They were met by police in riot gear, who fired tear gas and sent the crowds sprinting away.

    Protests began in the spring, first in opposition to a proposed law to extradite criminal suspects to mainland China. They have morphed into calls for greater freedom and an end to attacks by police.

  • Miss Wall:

    They are not doing anything violent, and the police just shoot them. And we are so angry about the police brutality. And there is no solution, because the government never responds to any of our requests on the police violence.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The cries denouncing police violence grew louder today after an online video showed a protester being shot. In it, an officer in Hong Kong's eastern Sai Wan Ho district grapples with a protester. As a masked man in black rushes toward him, the officer shoots him in the stomach. He is now in critical condition, but stable after surgery.

    Police said the shooting was justified.

  • Patrick Kwok Pak-Chung (through translator):

    It all happened just in a flash of a moment. He was trying to protect himself and his pistol.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Police also accused protesters of beating up a man and setting him on fire.

    Hong Kong executive Carrie Lam condemned the demonstrators and called them — quote — "the people's enemy."

  • Carrie Lam:

    If there's still any wishful thinking that, by escalating violence, the Hong Kong SAR government will yield to pressure to satisfy the so-called political demands, I'm making the statement clear and loud here. That will not happen.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry repeated claims that Western governments are supporting and accelerating the protests.

  • Geng Shuang (through translator):

    Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs, and no foreign government, organization or individual has the right to intervene. We express firm opposition to anyone providing a platform or creating conditions for activists or activities pro-Hong Kong independence.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Back in Hong Kong, clashes continued into the evening, as police fired tear gas from moving vehicles. Protesters lit fires in the middle of the street. Police sprayed water cannons to put them out and disperse the crowds.

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