Hong Kong on 'brink of total breakdown,' police say

Hong Kong on 'brink of total breakdown,' police say
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A Hong Kong police spokesperson has described the city as being on the “brink of total breakdown” amid protests that have been ongoing for months. 

“Our society has been pushed to the brink of a total breakdown,” a police spokesman told reporters of recent violence, according to Reuters.

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He said that “rioters” had participated in “insane” actions like throwing debris onto train tracks and power lines, halting the city's transportation system.

The wire service reported that in recent days a protester was shot by police and a man was set on fire. It also noted that a group of more than 1,000 protesters rallied during lunch hour for two days, blocking roads in an area of the city with expensive real estate. 

The police spokesman said the man who was set on fire was in critical condition. 

Police have used tear gas at City University and Chinese University, Reuters reported, adding that protesters threw petrol bombs and bricks at police at Chinese University. 

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam told reporters that blocking the commute was “a very selfish act,” according to The Associated Press.

“People from different sectors in society are holding fast to their positions and refusing to concede to violence or other radical actions,” she said. “I hereby express my gratitude to those who are still going to work and school today.”

The months-long demonstrations began in response to a now-shelved extradition bill, but have grown into a larger pro-democracy movement. Among the protesters' demands are universal suffrage and an independent investigation into alleged police brutality.