Published: Mon, August 12, 2019
Economy | By

Hong Kong Police Fire Tear Gas Amid Continuing Pro-Democracy Rallies

Hong Kong Police Fire Tear Gas Amid Continuing Pro-Democracy Rallies

An information screen showing cancelled flights is pictured at Hong Kong International Airport as anti-extradition bill protesters attend a mass demonstration after a woman was shot in the eye during a protest in Hong Kong, China August 12, 2019.

The airport authority stopped all check-in procedures and canceled all flights that were not already boarded or en route to Hong Kong International Airport, one of the busiest flight terminals in the world.

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

Roads to the airport were congested and vehicle parks were full, the authority said.

"Members of the public are advised not to come to the airport".

Yang Guang, a spokesman for the office in Beijing, delivered a televised address on Monday in which he backed police handling of the protests and said that those who care about the city should come out against violence.

While both said they haven't been scared by the violence that has rocked Hong Kong in recent weeks, they admitted to being anxious about what could happen at the airport this evening.

As police have dialled up their aggression, protesters have sought to channel a Bruce Lee maxim: "Be water", making use of a flash-mob strategy to frustrate authorities and stretch their resources.

Last Thursday and Friday, China's state-owned media circulated a photo of Julie Eaden, political unit chief of the U.S. consulate general in Hong Kong, meeting in a hotel lobby with prominent opposition leaders, including Joshua Wong, a student leader in the so-called umbrella protests in 2014. "Hong Kong has reached an inflection point where all those who are concerned about Hong Kong's future must say "no, ' to law breakers and 'no" to those engaged in violence". About 200 senior Hongkongers marched from the Hong Kong Police Headquarters to the Department of Justice before arriving at the Office of the Chief Executive.

A government official said 45 people were injured in the clashes, including two who were in serious condition.

The movement's demands include the resignation of the Chinese territory's leader, democratic elections, the release of those arrested in earlier protests and an investigation into police use of force against the protesters.

Kong said airport authorities had allowed demonstrators to gather in the arrivals halls - although the protest was not granted a permit from police - but accused the activists of blocking departures.

It is the eleventh week of the pro-democracy movement.

Hong Kong was guaranteed freedoms not granted in mainland China, including an independent judiciary, under a "one country, two systems" formula, when Britain handed it back to China in 1997.

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".

A large crowd sat under umbrellas, which are both a protest symbol in Hong Kong and protection from the summer heat. She said she was anxious about escalating violence, but added that "the protesters were just trying to protect themselves against police violence".

On Friday, China's Civil Aviation Administration said it will ban Cathay Pacific staff from supporting or participating in "illegal demonstrations, protests and violent attacks, as well as those who have had radical behaviours" from working on flights.

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