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First protester shot by police in Hong Kong

First protester shot by police in Hong Kong
© Getty Images

Fifteen people were injured, including one critically, on Tuesday when police in Hong Kong fired a live round at protesters for the first time after months of demonstrations.

At least one person was shot in the chest as protesters marched against the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party taking control in Beijing, The New York Times reports.

Video of a police officer firing at a protester at close range quickly went viral, Reuters notes.

Protesters, who clashed with police across nine districts in Hong Kong, set up fires and barricades and threw firebombs. The incidents came hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized national unity during festivities in Beijing, according to the Times.

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The shooting marks a sharp escalation between authorities and protesters, who for months have taken to the streets in opposition of an extradition law that was eventually withdrawn. Pro-democracy demonstrations have continued, with protesters calling for the ouster of Hong Kong's chief executive.

Over the weekend, anti-government protesters attacked the legislature, occupied the airport, tossed firebombs at police, vandalized metro stations and lit street fires. Police reportedly responded with tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets and live rounds fired into the air.

Police also fired a cannon with blue water at protesters earlier this month after demonstrators hurled stones and firebombs and ripped down a banner in honor of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and set it on fire.