A major police union is asking bosses to review the present strategy of using a “relatively lower level of force” when handling protests, saying extradition bill opponents are now using “lethal” violence against officers.

In a statement, Lam Chi-wai, chairman of the Junior Police Officers’ Association, said officers are facing unprecedented challenges to their personal safety, and urged the management to act. But he did not spell out any specific suggestions.

This comes after an officer fired a warning shot into the air and six officers in all pulled out their guns after being attacked by a group of people in Tsuen Wan during a protest on Sunday evening.

The union, which represents officers below the rank of inspector, issued a statement on Monday to condemn protesters who it said had targeted officers with escalating violence over the weekend.

Lam said protesters had repeatedly used petrol bombs to attack officers, and some were armed with sharp objects when they chased after retreating officers.

He also said the protesters had damaged public facilities, shops and cars, and had beaten up passersby who held different views from them.

The union head also said he had noticed that some journalists always stay between police cordons and protesters, which not only threatens their own safety but seriously obstructs officers’ work.

“When the police are focused in handling urgent situations, it is difficult for them to take care of journalists who exposed themselves in dangerous spots”, he said.