Hong Kong protests: Flights resume as airport authority restricts protests

Passengers check the status of their flights on an electronic board at Hong Kong international airport on August 14, 2019.Image copyright
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Flights have now resumed at Hong Kong airport

Hong Kong airport has resumed operations after a night of chaos which saw protesters clash with riot police.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Tuesday after protesters flooded the terminal buildings.

Early on Wednesday flights appeared to be running as scheduled, though some still remained delayed or cancelled.

After days of disruptions, the Airport Authority said it had obtained a temporary injunction banning protesters from entering certain areas.

It said in a statement that people would be “restrained from attending or participating in any demonstration or protest… in the airport other than in the area designated by the Airport Authority”.

It comes as Hong Kong enters its tenth week of anti-government protests.

What happened at the airport?

The airport, one of the world’s busiest, has been the site of daily protests since last Friday but they had been mostly peaceful.

On Tuesday, protesters blocked travellers from accessing flights, using luggage trolleys to build barriers, and staging a mass sit-down.

Some protesters held signs apologising to passengers for the inconvenience caused by their demonstrations.

However, things escalated when one man was set upon by protesters reportedly because they thought he was an undercover police officer.

Police, wearing riot gear and brandishing truncheons, later arrived at the airport and clashed with protesters.

In one video posted to social media, a policeman is seen frantically drawing his gun at protesters after being attacked with his own truncheon.

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Media captionA policeman was cornered and beaten by protesters after manhandling a woman

Protesters had boxed him into a corner after prying the baton from his hands during a violent skirmish. After collapsing to the ground, the policeman was eventually dragged to safety by his fellow officers.

At least two other men, also suspected of being police officers, were later confronted by protesters.

Their actions come after Hong Kong police had on Monday admitted that disguised officers were being planted among anti-government protesters.

The editor of Chinese state media outlet the Global Times later said one of the men attacked was a reporter from the outlet.

What has the government said?

The Hong Kong government has condemned the violence at the airport, saying it would take action against those found responsible.

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In a statement on Wednesday, it called the “violent acts… outrageous” and said that they had “overstepped the bottom line of a civilised society”.

It added that the police would take “relentless enforcement action to bring the persons involved to justice”.

Anti-government protests started in June in response to a proposed extradition bill, which has now been suspended, but have evolved into a more demanding pro-democracy movement.

They are being fuelled by fears that the freedoms Hong Kong enjoys as a special administrative region of China are being eroded.


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