Filmed and edited by Tom Griggs. Additional footage by Retuers
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Hong Kong is Asia's premier financial centre, but for nine weeks we've seen chaotic scenes like this, with riot police fighting pitched battles with protesters throughout parts of Hong Kong. Now today, things really escalated when protesters called a general strike and effectively shut down this city of 7.4m people.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled. And the MTR, the metro system in the city, was effectively ground to a halt. We're in a place called [INAUDIBLE] in Hong Kong's Kowloon District, and we've seen running battles here between the police and the protesters that just fired tear gas and cleared the street behind me. This is just one of the many districts where protesters have been fighting with the police.
Now, the protesters have really changed their tactics in the last couple of days. You see them increasingly mimicking the police and the way that they dress, with some of the protective equipment that they have. And in just the last two days they've adopted a new tactic of popping out of the subway systems in different parts of town, causing havoc, and then disappearing again before the police can arrest them or properly clear them.
Police have just announced today that in the last nine weeks of protests they've fired at least 1,000 rounds of tear gas, as well as arrested more than 500 people. And it looks like tonight there'll be many, many more arrests as police battle protesters into the night. The danger here is it looks increasingly chaotic. It looks increasingly like the police may be losing control of the situation, as we see battles like this across the entire territory of Hong Kong. And the real worry on everyone's mind is whether or not Beijing finally decides it's fed up, and decides to send in the People's Liberation Army.