Hong Kong erupts in street battles as Beijing celebrates 70th birthday of People's Republic

Riot police arrest protesters in Hong Kong
(Image credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Thousands of protesters clashed with police throughout Hong Kong on Tuesday as Beijing celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China with a giant military parade in Tiananmen Square.

In Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority said 15 people were wounded across the territory, one critically, during the unsanctioned protests and police sources confirmed to BBC News and The Associated Press that a police officer fired a live round into the chest of a protester, a first in four months of persistent pro-democracy protests. Police said some protesters were throwing corrosive liquids as well as Molotov cocktails, and local English language broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) withdrew all of its journalists from the protests after one reporter was hit near the right eye with a projectile and riot police pointed a loaded shotgun at another reporter.

Embattled Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam was in Beijing on Tuesday, filmed sitting with Chinese officials at the Tiananmen Square celebration. Back in Hong Kong, the territory's pro-establishment elite marked the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule with a flag-raising ceremony and reception at the heavily guarded convention center. Lam had already canceled a fireworks ceremony for Tuesday night, citing public safety concerns. The protesters say they fear Beijing is quickly eroding Hong Kong's freedoms agreed to when Britain returned the territory to China. Beijing wanted Tuesday to be a show of strenght and optimism as it faces the Hong Kong unrest and the economic fallout of a trade war with the U.S.

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