For the first time, Hong Kong police threatened on Sunday, November 17th to use live bullets if "rioters" used lethal weapons and committed other acts of violence, after protesters fired arrows and threw petrol bombs at officers at a besieged university campus, Reuters reported.
The police decision came after fresh clashes erupted outside a university in the centre of Hong Kong where protesters were hunkered down behind makeshift shields and threw petrol bombs at police.
One officer had been evacuated to a hospital to receive treatment after being hit in the leg by an arrow, and another had his visor struck by a metal ball, although he was not hurt, police said on Sunday in a statement.
The violence has caused the gravest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012. He has said he is confident Hong Kong’s government can resolve the problem.
In the statement, police threatened to respond with force and possibly live bullets if people who were described as rioters used lethal weapons to attack officers and committed other acts of violence.
Demonstrators, angry at what they see as Chinese interference in Hong Kong, have said they are responding to excessive use of force by police.
"The protesters have been reacting to the police," Joris, 23, a civil engineer, told Reuters. "We haven't fought back as much as we could. I would be prepared for jail. We are fighting for Hong Kong."
Protesters say the Communist Party is threatening freedoms guaranteed when Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997. But China denies interfering and has blamed foreign influences for the turmoil.