Published: Mon, August 12, 2019
Economy | By

Hong Kong airport cancels flights over protest

Hong Kong airport cancels flights over protest

Several thousand people gathered on Monday for a fourth day of protest against a proposed extradition law at Hong Kong's busy global airport. It said all check-in services for departing flights had been suspended.

The cancellations will have major repercussions.

The airline has sacked two ground crew for allegedly leaking the travel arrangements of a Hong Kong police football team travelling to the mainland.

Police used tear gas against activists who had occupied the legislative council building and painted pro-democracy slogans on the walls.

The government statement said: "Violent protesters vandalised public property and blocked roads". Since Friday, groups of peaceful protesters have occupied the airport's main arrivals terminal, unfurling banners and handing out anti-government leaflets in multiple languages to worldwide visitors.

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.

On some protesters' act of hurling petrol bombs at police officers in Cheung Sha Wan and the shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui, Yang condemned such attacks as "senseless". Some face riot charges that carry a prison term of 10 years.

Organisers of the protests have called for a million people to take over the airport today as a reaction for alleged police brutality.

A number of people, including a police officer, were injured in the clashes.

"These are powerful weapons that are inherently indiscriminate and have the potential of causing serious injury and even death".

"It's a mistake that the British government called Hong Kong Chief Executive directly to exert pressure", she said.

The increasingly violent protests since June have plunged the Asian financial hub into its most serious crisis in decades and are one of the biggest popular challenges to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012. "He underlined that the violence should not cloud the lawful actions of the majority".

At the airport over the weekend, leaflets in Chinese, English, French, Korean, Japanese and other languages were handed out to arriving global visitors, explaining the causes of the unrest - as protesters see it - and the demands of the opposition movement.

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.

In past weeks the protests have often begun peacefully but later descended into violence.

A Hong Kong pilot charged with rioting for taking part in a recent protest has been grounded, Cathy Pacific confirmed on Saturday.

The aviation authority said it had issued a major aviation safety risk warning to Hong Kong-based Cathay for failing to take appropriate action.

By appealing to the worldwide community, and making sure it is their message that most foreigners are seeing, protesters have shown themselves adept at public relations. "If she doesn't listen to the people and respond to our reasonable demands, we're going to continue to spread protests across Hong Kong".

"If we protesters leave, they will take over immediately".

Beijing has also signalled that it is losing patience with the protests.

She told reporters: "The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of supervision over Hong Kong".

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