Hong Kong International Airport management ordered the cancellation of flights on the same day early Monday afternoon after thousands of participants in an anti-government demonstration made it impossible for the airport to operate smoothly, according to a report published on the Hong Kong newspaper Hong Kong Morning Post (SCMP).
Inbound flights were allowed on the way, but outbound flights were suspended at Hong Kong’s Lantau, one of the world’s busiest international airports.
As part of a growing wave of protests that began months ago, the protest is on its fourth day at the airport. Demonstrators and police repeatedly clashed on Sunday night, with some 40 injured being taken to hospital. A woman in need of care who was hit by police with a bean bag may lose her right eye because of her injury, wrote the SCMP, referring to a doctor who knows the details of the case. As a result, many of the participants in Monday’s demonstration are wearing eyeglasses and eye-catching banners.
During Sunday’s clashes, some of the protesters threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at the police, who were trying to disperse the crowd with tear gas and rubber sticks. According to the SCMP, it was the first time Sunday that police deployed tear gas at demonstrators in a confined space at a train station. Video footage of the clashes and videos posted on the Internet show protesters fleeing riot police attacking the stick and injuring people lying on the ground.
After midnight, the Hong Kong government issued a statement condemning the actions of the protesters and calling on the population to say no to violence and to help restore order. The Hong Kong government echoed Beijing’s message last week.
Submissions in the Chinese press continue to focus on exposing violent acts by protesters. For example, CGTN’s China International Television News Portal featured police injured in clashes, while video clips posted on the site featured street-fire demonstrators and black-dressed demonstrators with iron bars and other objects, but not police crackdowns.
Jang Kuang, a spokesman for the Chinese government’s Hong Kong and Macao bureau, said on Monday “extremist demonstrators attacked police with extremely dangerous items, which in itself is a crime and reveals the first signs of terrorism.”
The wave of protests was triggered by a bill that was already suspended but not withdrawn, aimed at amending the extradition law, but gradually turned into a general anti-government protest. Demonstrators are calling for the resignation of the bill, including the resignation of Hong Kong governor Carrie Lam and an investigation into police action against protesters.
The city, with its 7 million inhabitants and a special administrative status, returned to China from British colonial rule in 1997 and enjoys certain democratic rights under the principle of “one country, two systems”. But protesters see Beijing exerting its influence and at the same time restricting Hong Kong’s democratic rights.