Fires blazed and the sound of gunshots could be heard into the early hours of the morning as the protest turned into a full scale riot with police and protestors trading gunfire.
The protest had been organized as a demonstration against police brutality which has been a stormy issue lately with many citizen’s complaining of excessive force by police. Protestors gathered outside of the Hathian Police Department and key eyewitnesses-who wish to remain anonymous-state that a few leading the protest instigated the violence, allegedlly stirring the crowd into a frenzy with his inflammatory remarks. Eyewitnesses claim that he accused police of “terror” and “the raping and murdering of citizens and being highly corrupt”. During this time a bomb was set off within the HPD, causing an explosion that rocked the building and set it on fire, engulfing the entire building in flames, which firefighters then battled to put out.
“Go ahead and keep talking, if you don’t start moving right now I am going to shoot you,” an eyewitness known to the journalist as R.R. reported Sgt. Marcus Timanou as shouting out before police retaliated by firing gunshots into the crowd, using teargas to try to disperse the mob, some of whom were returning gunfire. Several of the protestors were injured as police sprayed the crowd with gunfire, shooting randomly while those who were armed and had guns shot back at police, wounding some officers with reports of perhaps three officers dead in total, although this has not been confirmed.
Confusion and panic spread amongst the crowd with people trying to get out of the direction of the way of the bullets and running around in the clouds of smoke which was accentuated by the teargas that the police had fired. Police were told to use restraint before the protest but none seemed to be exercised as confusion and havoc reigned and the violence left several dead, some injured and the HPD building in flames.
A small child was lost in the midst and stranded by the burning building of the HPD before being rescued by a citizen who had been attending the protest.
The startling eruption of violence has exposed exactly how the issue of excessive use of force is by the HPD and how it sees using this level of violence as acceptable against the very citizens it is meant to “protect and serve”. The police force will have to answer to the citizen’s of Hathian if relations between the two are going to improve. In the meantime, the HPD has to put out the fires in the community by using less force and firing any corrupt officers and ensuring an end to the allegations of sexual assaults by members of the force on citizens.