Dramatic clip captures the ugly side of Hong Kong protests
It’s not an easy thing to watch.
A GIF of a police officer pepper-spraying a non-violent man during the Hong Kong protests is going viral.
The clip comes from a live-stream video of the protests. In it, a police officer reaches over a barricade and grabs an elderly protestor by the shoulder, turning him around so he can pepper-spray him at point-blank range.
A 10-second video clip of the incident also went viral on Facebook.
"I was watching the live stream and witnessed the whole incident," wrote Reddit user Black Tomatoes. “Protestors were aggressively trying to break through the barricade several times; this uncle however was pleading the protestors to remain clam and insisted on a peaceful protest. I’ve seen him stopping the mob from charging towards the police force. Guess what? In return for his effort, one of the police officers gave him a cheap shot and sprayed directly into his eyes. What a jerk!”
"That also explains why he yelled ‘I’m here to help’ at the end of the video," he added.
A full version of the incident has also been circulating online:
Protesters have been demonstrating against China’s broken promise to grant Hong Kong full democracy by 2017. While the Chinese government did announce that it would allow Hong Kong to hold its first democratic elections that year, as promised, the announcement came with a huge string attached: A pro-Beijing committee would select the candidates, essentially rigging the first “democratic” election.
The violent police response to protesters is only further angering Hong Kong residents and adding to the “worst unrest there since China took back control of the former British colony two decades ago,” Reuters
“The video is shocking for its apparently arbitrary violence against a harmless-looking elderly protester, but made all the more so for the fact that this is Hong Kong, a place that prides itself on its orderliness and peaceful marches. This is just not something that happens in Hong Kong, except that it’s happening. These sorts of scenes are enraging Hong Kong residents, who on Sunday began joining the student-dominated protests occupying the city’s Central district,” wrote Max Fisher for Vox.
"I hope people will understand why the action keeps on escalating," said Chan Kin-man, one of the protest leaders, in an interview on the street. “It’s because the government is getting more and more closed without listening to Hong Kong people. If the government can give us a proper response in due course I think we can end the occupation immediately.”
That's nasty, right up in his face like that.