Published: Tue, August 13, 2019

Hong Kong leader urges calm as protest tensions rise

Hong Kong leader urges calm as protest tensions rise

BBC reports passengers have been told not to travel to the airport, which is one of the world's busiest transport hubs.

The post coincided with a statement from Chinese authorities vowing to crack down on Hong Kong protesters and likening the demonstrations to "terrorism". "I will be responsible [for] rebuilding Hong Kong's economy, to listen as attentively as possible to my people's grievances and try to help Hong Kong to move on", she said.

"Though people may share different views, it is essential that we all respect each other, our customers and members of the public".

No new violence was reported by yesterday evening, although the territory remained on edge after more than two months of near-daily and increasingly bloody confrontations between protesters and police.

During the weekend protests, website Hong Kong Free Press showed footage of one arrest that appeared to include officers in plain clothes pinning a demonstrator pressed to the ground.

Software engineer Joydeep Chakravarti, whose connecting flight to San Francisco was canceled late Monday, expressed frustration that he was told to leave the airport when he wanted to stay inside the terminal.

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam gestures during a news conference in Hong Kong, China August 13, 2019.

Thousands of black-clad protesters occupied the airport on Monday following a weekend of violence that saw police fire tear gas into subway stations and rubber bullets at close range. A large crowd sat under umbrellas, which are both a protest symbol in Hong Kong and protection from the summer heat.

"You can sense the change in their tactics from the authorities, they've become more brutal after Mr Trump clearly says that's an issue between Hong Kong and China, he's not going to interfere, which is a very bad signal", he said.

The protests began in opposition to a bill that would have allowed extraditions to the mainland, but quickly evolved into a broader bid to reverse a slide of rights and freedoms in the southern Chinese city.

Passengers with luggage were being checked in for flights, and only a handful of the thousands of protesters who flooded into the airport a day earlier remained in the building.

"Yesterday's police operation was ridiculous", said Nicekayla, a 27-year-old retail worker who, like numerous protesters, declined to use her real name for fear of arrest.

The closure of the airport added to that pressure.

Australian travellers stuck in Hong Kong have described chaotic scenes at the airport.

He said the protesters' "violent crimes" must be dealt with "resolutely" and "without mercy".

Hours later, two state media outlets ran videos showing armoured personnel and troop carriers purportedly driving to Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.

"Hong Kong International Airport will implement flight rescheduling today with flight movements expected to be affected", said a notice published on the Hong Kong International Airport's official mobile app on Tuesday.

Protesters have said they plan to return to the airport later in the day to resume their demonstrations. "I hope the government will hear us".

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