Political unrest continues in Hong Kong as pro-democracy protesters took to the streets for the 12th straight week. On Sunday, police drew their guns for the first time since the uprising started, and fired a warning shot above a crowd of demonstrators. Police also used water cannons for the first time and fired tear gas and plastic bullets as they clashed with protesters in the Tsuen Wan district. Authorities say 36 people were arrested Sunday, including a 12-year-old, and 29 people were arrested Saturday.
Sunday’s violence followed several large-scale peaceful demonstrations over the weekend, including the formation of human chains across miles of Hong Kong streets Friday. The action was inspired by the “Baltic Way” protest 30 years earlier, when around 2 million people from three Baltic countries held hands to call for an end to Soviet rule.
Earlier this week, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam vowed to “start a platform for dialogue,” but officials have so far not responded to any of the protesters’ demands for democratic reforms or to withdraw the proposed extradition bill to China, which triggered the popular protest movement. On Saturday, a senior Hong Kong official warned that China’s military could intervene if civil unrest persisted.