Hong Kong settles into uneasy calm after night of violence


HONG KONG — Hong Kong settled into an uneasy calm Saturday after violent protests its embattled leader decried as “a very dark day.”

All subway and train services were suspended, shops were closed and the streets of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory — usually bustling — were largely empty.

But limited protests continued in defiance of a ban on face masks.

In a televised address, Chief Executive Carrie Lam defended Friday’s move to invoke emergency powers in an effort to quell the growing unrest.

“The radical behavior of rioters took Hong Kong through a very dark night, leaving society today half-paralyzed,” Lam said in the pre-recorded message broadcast early Saturday.

“The extreme violence clearly illustrated that Hong Kong’s public safety is widely endangered,” she added.

“Everyone is worried and scared.”

Widespread violence

The decision to ban face masks enraged protesters, who took to the streets to vent their anger.

Many wore masks in defiance through a night that saw widespread violence including arson attacks, vandalism and fights with police.

Demonstrators have been using face masks to conceal their identities and protect themselves from tear gas dispersed by police during months of protests that have roiled the territory.

Police said an officer in the Yuen Long district had fired a shot in self-defense after he was attacked, injuring a protester.

A local hospital confirmed to NBC News that a 14-year-old boy was in serious condition and undergoing surgery after being shot in his left thigh.

The teen became the second victim of gunfire in the protests that began in June.

Associated Press and Reuters contributed.

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