After night of violence, thousands of protesters shut down Hong Kong airport

Daniel Fowler
August 12, 2019

Later on Monday, Hong Kong International Airport confirmed it has cancelled departing flights amid the swathes of anti-government protests in its main terminal.

Hong Kong has seen nine weeks of protests, with no end in sight.

Hong Kong International Airport said in a statement that the demonstration "seriously disrupted" airport operations.

Traffic on roads to the airport was extremely congested and auto park spaces were full, it said.

They advised members of the public not to travel to the airport but said arrivals already heading into Hong Kong would be allowed to land.

Beijing told the airline that staff involved in the protests that have gripped Hong Kong for more than two months would be banned from flights to the mainland.

Last Tuesday in the wake of the general strike, Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, declared that "radical protests" were endangering the city's prosperity and stability.

Other demands include the withdrawal of charges against arrested protesters, an independent inquiry into police violence, and free elections based on universal suffrage for Hong Kong's legislative and administrative bodies.

Luxury shops were caught up in the protests, with some shoppers even taking pictures of riot police, while other bystanders - at one stage hundreds - jeered the officers.

The increasingly violent protests have plunged Chinese-ruled Hong Kong into its most serious crisis in decades and presented a serious challenge to Beijing.

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Hong Kong's government says the protests are pushing the city to an extremely risky edge.

Businesses, both worldwide and local, in Hong Kong have also faced pressure and accusations of acting in concert or sympathizing with the protesters.

The entry of the working class of Hong Kong into the protest movement has not only provoked fears in Beijing but also concerns in Washington and among USA allies amid a resurgence of the class struggle internationally.

Officers in riot gear pursued protesters into subway stations, where they were recorded firing tear gas in enclosed environments and at close range.

Demonstrators say they are fighting against the erosion of the "one country, two systems" arrangement enshrining some autonomy for Hong Kong when China took it back in 1997.

The bill has been suspended, but protesters have stepped up their demands and are now calling for greater democracy and Lam's resignation. One widely shared video shows an undercover policeman grinding a protester's face into the ground, blood pooling around the protester's jaws as he cries that his teeth are falling out.

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.

The United States flag has become a frequent sight at protests, as some called for Washington to, among other actions, pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, a law that would reaffirm U.S. commitment to upholding Hong Kong's limited democracy and rule of law.

Earlier in the week, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to relay concerns over the ongoing protests in the former British colony.

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