The reported use of a live round during today's protests will further galvanize already angry and violent anti-government demonstrations, as they near their fourth month of continuous unrest. Today's turnout put to bed any suggestion that the movement was losing energy or significant amounts of support, but the use of lethal force by police could see even more take to the streets in coming weeks.
At multiple previous protests, police have pulled out their sidearms and shot in the air or aimed weapons at protesters when they were in fear for their lives.
A police prediction: Last week, a senior police commander told journalists that the force was worried they would soon have to use live rounds on protesters themselves.
"Our officers are worried that the level of violence has got to such a level that they might have to kill someone or be killed themselves," the commander said. "We have been so restrained but in the face of such violence this pressure has become extremely dangerous."
What protesters say: Though it is unclear whether the person shot today was a protester, when asked about the suggestion that officers may end up killing a demonstrator in self-defense, activist Bonnie Leung -- of the Civil Human Rights Front -- said police using real ammunition and guns was "unnecessary and unjustified." Leung added that officers are able to protect themselves in "many different ways."
"They already have the power of arrest, they already have the power to use force, but they are using disproportionate force already. They have the least lethal weapons... They now have rubber bullets, they now have water cannons -- they have everything," she said.
"But what they are doing is that they are not just trying to protect themselves... they are actually doing more than necessary and more than the laws allow them to do in order to anger the protesters even more, and that creates danger."
The victim: The identity of the man shot by police is so far unclear -- as is whether he was a protester or passerby. Previous incidents of alleged police violence have led to the targets becoming icons for the movement, such as a woman hit in the eye by a beanbag round, or a man seen on video being attacked by a large number of police officers.