Sunday, 18 August, 2019

Hong Kong airport suspends check-ins due to protests

Hong Kong airport suspends check-ins due to protests Hong Kong Protesters Fill Airport After Police Violence
Patty Aguilar | 13 August, 2019, 08:25

Metro stations in Hong Kong resumed regular service on Monday and streets were being cleaned of debris as the city recovered from another night of violent clashes between anti-government protesters and police, with more protests planned this week.

Hong Kong's airport reopened on Tuesday with some flight resumptions but hundreds of others were still cancelled, with airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and Malaysian Airlines advising travellers of rescheduling.

It was unclear how many flights were impacted, according to Doris Lai, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Airport Authority.

"One must take resolute action toward this violent criminality, showing no leniency or mercy", said the statement, attributed to spokesman Yang Guang. They said it could put activists and journalists at risk.

Only flights that had already begun boarding or those cleared for landing were allowed to use runways at the airport.

A massive traffic jam soon formed on the highway leading back to Hong Kong's city centre.

An anti-Extradition bill supporter punches a police van after police detained protesters near a Sai Wan Ho Mass Transit Railway (MTR) station in Hong Kong, China, August 11, 2019.

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Hong Kong called former deputy police commissioner Lau Yip-shing out of retirement last week to handle major upcoming public events including celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in October. The young man, who said his name was Chow Ka-lok and asked for a lawyer, was shown with a bleeding head wound and said he had a broken tooth.

Protesters hurled bricks at officers and ignored warnings to leave before tear gas was deployed in the Sham Shui Po area, police said, calling a march there an "unauthorized assembly". They allegedly leaked information about the travel arrangements of a Hong Kong police soccer team, the South China Morning Post reported. At one point, protesters blocked the entrance to a plaza to prevent police from entering.

At one stage police stormed some underground train stations, firing tear gas and arresting protesters.

Demonstrations continued over the weekend, including at the airport where protesters holding signs staged a sit-in at the arrival and departure halls on Friday. Dressed in the black T-shirts and dust masks that have become the de facto uniform of the protest movement, the visibly angry crowd chanted slogans such as "an eye for an eye!" - a reference to the young medic whose blood-drenched face became iconic overnight.

The protest movement's demands include the resignation of the Chinese territory's leader, Carrie Lam, democratic elections for her successor, the release of those arrested in earlier protests and an investigation into police use of force. But in recent years, some have accused the Communist Party-ruled central government of steadily chipping away at their freedoms.

Authorities had denied permits over the weekend for protests in all but Victoria Park, but demonstrators took to the streets anyway. CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice, a Taiwanese bubble tea franchise, and Pop Mart, a Chinese lifestyle brand, both apologised after individuals affiliated with their companies expressed support for Hong Kong protesters.

Beijing says criminals and agitators are stirring violence, encouraged by "interfering" foreign powers including Britain, but the protests seem to enjoy broad support in the city of more than 7 million people.

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