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Hong Kong airport cancels Monday flights amid sit-in protest

12.08.2019
Read the original article on : aljazeera.com
Hong Kong airport has suspended all the remaining flights for Monday due to the ongoing pro-democracy protest in its terminal, according to airport authorities. Authorities said they were suspending departing and arriving flights at one of the world's busiest travel hubs after thousands of protesters entered the arrivals halls to stage a demonstration.

“Other than the departure flights that have completed the check-in process and the arrival flights that are already heading to Hong Kong, all other flights have been cancelled for the rest of today,” the airport authority said in a statement.

“Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted as a result of the public assembly at the airport today,” the statement said.

It said traffic on roads to the airport was very congested and car park spaces were full. “Members of the public are advised not to come to the airport,” the statement added. Hours later, the airport authority said all passengers were advised to leave the airport as soon as possible.

Sightings of police officers

Cherry Yeung, 31, a stay-at-home mother, sat out the weekend sit-in, but after last night’s police crackdown, she said she was enraged enough to take action.

On Monday afternoon, she set off with her 2-year-old boy in tow and armed with a laptop to play footage of police violence for the world to see.

“I’m very angry at what happened overnight,” said Yeung. Since midnight Monday authorities cordoned off the departure hall. Soon enough the entire two levels of the main Terminal 1 were totally packed with demonstrators.

over 5,000 protesters have reportedly descended on the airport.

“There is a sense of outrage here … the police have used their batons, they have fired tear gas … and so, there is a sense of outrage what some are calling police brutality,” McBride said.

“Especially significant is the wounding of a girl, at one of the protests, who may well have lost an eye as a result,” he added.

“The protesters have completely taken over the terminal.”

McBride added that the tougher stance of the Hong Kong police on Sunday was very different from most of the previous weeks.

“Possibly, it was a way or trying to scare people into not coming out, not taking part in illegal activities. If that is the case, they maybe they may have to think again,” McBride said about.

In response, protesters were seen carrying signs and banners condemning police brutality and calling the police murderers.

Worst crisis in decades

Increasingly restive protests for over two months have plunged Hong Kong into its most serious political crisis in decades and presented a serious challenge to Beijing.

The protests, which started over a controversial extradition bill, expanded into wider calls for democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into police conduct during the demonstrations.

The protest movement’s demands also include the resignation of the Chinese territory’s leader Carrie Lam and an election for her successor

Over the weekend, as demonstrators threw up barricades across the city, police shot volleys of tear gas into crowded underground train stations for the first time, and fired bean-bag rounds at close range.

Scores of protesters were arrested, sometimes after being beaten with batons and bloodied by police. Police have arrested more than 600 people since the unrest began.

In a response to those skirmishes, Chinese authorities said the protesters in Hong Kong were taking part in “terrorism”, AFP news agency reported.

Read the original article here.

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