Hong Kong’s airport authority has cancelled departure flights after thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators flooded into one of the world’s busiest air travel hubs holding signs reading “Hong Kong is not safe” and “Shame on police”, The Guardian reports.
The authority said: “Other than departure flights that have completed the check-in process and the arrival flights already heading to Hong Kong, all other flights have been cancelled for the rest of today.”
Roads to the airport were congested and car park spaces were full, the authority said, on the fourth day of a mass demonstration there.
The abrupt shutdown came as street protests across the Chinese territory entered their 10th week with no sign of either side backing down, and the Chinese government signalled its rising anger at the protesters, denouncing some of the violent demonstrations as “terrorism”.
Rights groups and democracy activists accused police of using excessive force after teargas was fired into an enclosed subway station and officers posed as protesters before making arrests during an intense weekend of clashes.
Dressed in their uniform black T-shirts and masks, protesters at the airport handed out lists to arriving visitors documenting alleged police violence, and held up graphic images of injured protesters. Many wore eye patches in reference to a female protester who sustained an eye injury.
“I just don’t understand how people can tolerate that kind of police brutality. I feel like if I don’t come out now, I can’t come out ever,” said Hilary Lo, who took a half day’s sick leave from her accountancy firm to attend the demonstration. “People are starting to realise the police are out of control, especially with what has happened in the past two weeks.”
Some of the 5,000 activists occupying the airport’s arrivals hall went to the departure area and caused disruptions, Hong Kong police told a news conference. Police declined to say if they would move to clear the demonstrators.