A man who confronted a group of anti-government demonstrators in Hong Kong has been set on fire in one of the most violent days since protests began more than five months ago.
The unidentified man was doused in a flammable liquid and set alight following an apparent dispute over national identity in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
In a video posted to Twitter, the man is shown to be unarmed and yelling profane language at protesters before saying “you’re all not Chinese”.
He suffered critical but non-life threatening injuries and remains in a city hospital.
WARNING: Graphic videos
Monday in Hong Kong, a man who openly disagreed with radical protesters was poured gasoline over by rioters and set on fire. Radical protesters in Hong Kong have started behaving like ISIS members. pic.twitter.com/Hugh5ymnr7
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) November 11, 2019
The incident came just hours after a pro-democracy protester was shot by police, leaving him hospitalised in a critical condition.
It marked the second time a protester was shot since the demonstrations began in early June, although police have repeatedly drawn their firearms to ward off attacks.
— L (@KL93782586) November 11, 2019
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said deepening violence between police and protesters has pushed Hong Kong “to the brink of no return”.
During a press conference on Monday (local time), Ms Lam said the government would not yield to pressure to satisfy protesters’ demands.
“If there is any wishful thinking that by escalating violence the government will yield to pressure to satisfy protesters’ so-called demands, I’m making this clear that will not happen,” she said.
The violence is likely to further inflame passions in Hong Kong after a student who fell during an earlier protest died on Friday and police arrested six pro-democracy lawmakers over the weekend.
Hong Kong Chief Superintendent of Police Tse Chun-Chung urged everyone to “stay calm and rational”, saying that “continuing this rampage is a lose-lose situation for Hong Kong – everyone is a loser”.
He said a policeman who rode his motorcycle through a group of protesters in an apparent attempt to disperse them, has been suspended from front-line service.
Anti-government protesters organized a general strike on Monday, as they continue to demand for an independent inquiry into police brutality, the retraction of the word “riot” to describe the rallies, and genuine universal suffrage.
So far, more than 3300 people have been arrested in the protests.
Police fired tear gas and deployed a water cannon in various parts of the city on Monday and charged onto the campus of Chinese University, where students were protesting.
Rail service was partly suspended because of fires and obstacles on the tracks and windows were smashed at a branch of the state-owned Bank of China.
Large parts of the downtown business district were closed to traffic as protesters surrounded by onlookers engaged in a standoff with police.
Monday’s shooting occurred in a crosswalk at a large intersection strewn with debris that had backed-up traffic in Sai Wan Ho, a neighborhood on the eastern part of Hong Kong Island.
In a news release, the Hong Kong government said police had been responding to vandalism and disruptions to traffic, including protesters throwing heavy objects onto roads from above.
“During police operations, one police officer has discharged his service revolver, one male was shot,” the release said, adding that officers also drew their guns in the Shatin and Tung Chung neighborhoods.
“All police officers are required to justify their enforcement actions,” the statement said.
The city has been rocked by the death on Friday of a university student who fell from a parking garage when police fired tear gas at protesters.