Hong Kong Rocked By Violent Protests In Response To Mask Ban

Hong Kong Rocked By Violent Protests In Response To Mask Ban
Violent outbreaks spread in response to a recent emergency ban on wearing face masks at protests.

Hong Kong was rocked by an series of violent protests Friday night, in response to the government's emergency ban on wearing face masks at demonstrations.

A peaceful march on Friday quickly spiraled into violence throughout the night, as protesters reportedly set fire to businesses and subway stations throughout the city. As of Saturday morning, Hong Kong's entire metro system had been shut down, with many shopping malls, supermarkets and banks closed to customers out of a fear of additional violence.

According to the Washington Post, nearly three dozen people were hospitalized after the protests on Friday. A 14-year-old boy was reportedly in critical condition after being shot by an undercover officer during the demonstrations, becoming the second person shot by police since the protests began.

In a televised address on Saturday, Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam defended the ban on masks and decried the outbreak of violence. She said: "The extreme acts of the rioters brought dark hours to Hong Kong last night and half-paralyzed society today. The extreme violence clearly illustrated that Hong Kong's public safety is widely endangered. Everyone is worried and scared."

Pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong filed a legal challenge to the mask ban on Saturday, seeking a temporary injunction as well as a judicial review of the law. A hearing is set for Sunday morning.

The global community also took notice of the violence. On Saturday, the United Nations Human Rights chief asked Hong Kong authorities to launch an "effective, prompt, independent and impartial investigation" into the handling of the protests.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.