Riot police clashed with pro-democracy protesters at Hong Kong’s airport late Tuesday night, moving into the terminal where the demonstrators had shut down operations at the busy transport hub for two straight days.
Officers armed with pepper spray and swinging batons confronted the protesters who used luggage carts to barricade entrances to the airport terminal.
Police took several people into a police van waiting at the entrance to the airport’s arrivals hall.
Riot police use pepper spray to disperse anti-extradition bill protesters during a mass demonstration after a woman was allegedly shot in the eye during a rally on Sunday. Police and protesters have clashed outside the Terminal 1 of the airport
A photographer is seen trying to separate a policeman from a woman on the floor. The scuffles broke out in the evening between police and protesters after an injured person was taken out of the main terminal by medics
Riot police use pepper spray on protesters. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged Hong Kong to exercise restraint and investigate evidence of its forces firing tear gas at protesters in ways banned under international law
One man, believed to be a protester, is seriously wounded during the clash at the Hong Kong airport. Officers armed with pepper spray and swinging batons confronted the protesters who used luggage carts to barricade entrances to the terminal
At a press conference today, the city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam today defended the police against accusations of excessive force over the weekend, when rounds of tear gas were fired into subway stations and on crowded shopping streets
Riot police are seen at the scene of today’s demonstration at the airport. Protesters also scuffled with police, who used pepper spray to keep back the crowds. Several police vehicles were blocked amid heated scenes, according to witnesses
Police said they tried to help ambulance officers reach an injured man whom protesters had detained on suspicion of being an undercover agent.
Protesters also detained a second man who they suspected of being an undercover agent. After emptying out his belongings, they found a blue T-shirt that has been worn by pro-Beijing supporters that they said was evidence he was a spy.
Hong Kong police yesterday admitted that they had deployed undercover officers among pro-democracy demonstrators to help catch ‘violent protesters’.
Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said operations at the airport had been ‘seriously disrupted’.
Police said they tried to help ambulance officers reach an injured man whom protesters had detained on suspicion of being an undercover agent. Medics are pictured attempting to remove an injured man from the barricaded terminal building
One woman protects her head as a baton-wielding officer confronts her during the clash at the Hong Kong airport. Protesters at the terminal building also detained a second man who they suspected of being an undercover agent
Protesters flee as anti-riot police are about to storm into the terminal building. Earlier today, authorities were forced to cancel all remaining flights as the city’s pro-Beijing leader warned that the protesters had pushed events onto a ‘path of no return’
The demonstrators have shown no sign of letting up on their campaign to force Carrie Lam’s administration to respond to their demands, including that she scrap proposed legislation under which suspects could be sent to mainland China
Lam has rejected all calls for dialogue, part of what analysts say is a strategy to wear down the opposition movement through police action while prompting demonstrators to take more violent and extreme actions that will turn the public against them
Earlier today, authorities at Hong Kong airport suspended all departure check-ins after pro-democracy protesters blocked the facility for a second day, but some flights were still arriving and taking off.
‘Terminal operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted as a result of the public assembly,’ the airport authority said in a statement.
‘All check-in service for departure flights has been suspended since 1630hrs (0830 GMT). Other departure and arrival flights for the rest of the day will continue to operate, and airlines will provide arrangements for passengers who have not completed the departure process.’
‘Members of the public are advised not to come to the airport.’
Pro-democracy protesters try to occupy the departures hall during another demonstration at Hong Kong’s international airport today. Hong Kong airport authority has suspended all departure check-ins on a second day due to the demonstration
A tourist (central) gives her luggage to security guards as she tries to enter the departures gate during another demonstration by pro-democracy protesters today. The activists have gathered to denounce alleged police violence and call for reforms
Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters (bottom) block access to the departure gates during another demonstration at Hong Kong’s international airport today. The airport authority has advised members of the public not to come to the airport
Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters (centre) crowd the area in front of the departure gates to block access. The airport re-opened this morning after around 200 flights were cancelled yesterday due to a 5,000-strong protest in the terminal building
In this combination of photos taken on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, protesters wear eyepatches during a demonstration at the airport in Hong Kong. Protesters who have occupied Hong Kong International Airport wore bandages over one eye in a sign of solidarity with a comrade reportedly hit with a type of non-lethal ammunition known as a beanbag round
A pro-democracy protester holds a placard which lists the protesters five demands to the government. The demonstrators are demanding the city’s leader completely withdraw the extradition bill and retract the statement that protesters are ‘rioters’
Posters in the airport were calling for demonstrations under the banner: ‘an eye for an eye’. The slogan refers to a seriously wounded female protester, who was said to be shot in the eye by the police with a bean bag round during a clash on Sunday. Pictured, a nurse with her one-eye covered takes part in a solidarity protest at the Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong today
WHAT DO HONG KONG PROTESTERS WANT?
Apart from the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong demonstrators have listed five demands and have continued to urge the government to respond to them.
These five demands are:
1. A complete withdrawal of the extradition bill
2. A retraction from the government to its characterisation that the protesters were ‘rioters’
3. Unconditional and immediate release of protesters who were arrested and charges against them dropped
4. Establishment of an independent inquiry to investigate police violence during clashes
5. Genuine universal suffrage
The news comes just hours after the airport, one of the world’s busiest, reopened from a temporary shutdown. But hundreds of flights remain cancelled amid calls for fresh pro-democracy action despite yesterday’s crackdown.
Some 5,000 demonstrators descended on the terminal building yesterday to denounce alleged police violence, forcing the airport’s authority to cancel all flights from early afternoon.
Many of them were wearing an eyepatch in reference to a seriously wounded female protester, who was said to be shot in the eye by the police with a bean bag round during a clash on Sunday. Doctors said the woman could lose her right eyeball, local reports said. Police said they were investigating the case.
Images of blood pouring from the woman’s face as she lay on a pavement quickly went viral and featured in posters calling for demonstrations under the banner: ‘an eye for an eye’.
Hong Kong police have also admitted to deploy undercover officers among pro-democracy demonstrators to help catch ‘violent protesters’.
The statement came after footage of one bleeding demonstrator being pinned down to the ground had gone viral. In the clip, the man was arrested by one uniformed police officer who was aided by two men suspected to be secret policemen dressed as activists with hardhats and black T-shirts.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged Hong Kong to exercise restraint and investigate evidence of its forces firing tear gas at protesters in ways banned under international law.
A traveler (bottom left) sits with protesters during a sit-in rally at the Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong
Protesters severely crippled operations at Hong Kong’s international airport for a second day, forcing authorities to cancel all remaining flights out of the city after demonstrators took over the terminals as part of their push for democratic reforms
After a brief respite early Tuesday, the airport authority announced check-in services for departing flights were suspended as of 4:30pm. Departing flights that had completed the process would continue to operate. Pictured, a British family of four are allowed to go through the departure gate by protesters during the blockage at the Terminal 2 of the airport
Protesters hold placards denouncing police brutality as they block the departure gate of the Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 2 during a demonstration. On Monday, over 200 flights were canceled and the airport was effectively shut down
Passengers with inside the departure hall after check-in services have been suspended due to an anti-government demonstration at Hong Kong Airport
Passengers have been forced to seek accommodation in the city while airlines struggle to find other ways to get them to their destinations. Pictured, protesters try to prevent a passenger from breaching a barricade in front of departure gates
The airport disruptions are an escalation of a summer of demonstrations aimed at what many Hong Kong residents see as an increasing erosion of the freedoms they were promised in 1997 when China took over what had been a British colony
Beijing calls protesters ‘mobsters’ and links them to terror:
State media described the protesters on Tuesday as ‘mobsters‘, warning they must never be appeased and raising the spectre of mainland security forces intervening to quash them.
On Monday, Beijing described unrest and clashes in Hong Kong – which started as opposition to a proposed extradition law but morphed into calls for democratic reform – as ‘terrorism emerging’.
The official state news agency Xinhua warned in a commentary Tuesday that ‘violent radicals’ were pushing Hong Kong into an ‘abyss’ and warned there should be no compromise to their demands.
‘Any connivance or support for the mobsters, any appeasement of them, or sophistry and excuses for them are an insult and defamation of the Hong Kong police force guarding their homeland,’ the commentary said, adding that the unrest posed ‘great harm to Hong Kong’s overall interests’.
The nationalistic tabloid The Global Times said the ‘most extreme demonstrators have been attacking the police and using increasingly dangerous weapons’.
‘Their hysterical purpose is to paralyse the SAR government and combat the authority of the police,’ the newspaper said in a commentary.
On its nightly news broadcast on Monday evening, state broadcaster CCTV called the protests ‘extreme acts of violence (which are) tantamount to blatant murder’.
‘Those Hong Kong chaotic elements are a sludgy, muddy water in the historical torrent, which will be cleaned up,’ the news anchor said.
In a video posted on its Weibo channel, a CCTV anchor warned viewers: ‘When dealing with terrorism, there is no soft hand.’
The financial hub has been rocked by protests over the past months against a now-suspended bill that would allow people to be extradited from the city to stand trial in Communist Party-controlled courts in mainland China.
The mass display of opposition to the bill has morphed into a wider pro-democracy movement that has thrown down the most significant challenge to Beijing’s authority since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
The protesters have continued to urge the government to respond to their five demands, including a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, an independent enquiry into alleged police violence and universal suffrage.
Apart from the rallies at the airport, around 500 medical workers reportedly staged silent protests in 13 public hospitals today over what they claimed was the excessive use of force by the police during clashes over the weekend.
Many medical workers were also wearing eyepatches in answer to the campaign. The protests were staged during lunch breaks and have not affected the operations of the hospitals, said local reports.
The city’s leader today warned that protesters were pushing the city down the ‘path of no return’.
But one journalist yelled at her: ‘Mrs Lam, many citizens have been asking recently when you will die?’
Beijing has also made ominous declarations, branding the anti-extradition bill’s activists, in their 10th week of protests, ‘mobsters’ and likened them to terrorism.
The financial hub’s leader Carrie Lam said: ‘Violence, no matter if it’s using violence or condoning violence, will push Hong Kong down a path of no return, will plunge Hong Kong society into a very worrying and dangerous situation …
‘The situation in Hong Kong in the past week has made me very worried that we have reached this dangerous situation.’
Lam, who faced fierce questioning from local reporters and at one point appeared to be on the verge of tears, appealed for calm.
‘Take a minute to think, look at our city, our home, do you all really want to see it pushed into an abyss,’ Lam said, although she again refused to make any concessions to the protesters.
At Hong Kong airport, operations resumed early on Tuesday morning, a day after thousands of protesters converged on it.
But the chaos was far from over, with a massive backlog of flights to clear.
A few hours after Lam’s press conference, thousands of protesters returned to Hong Kong airport with many sitting down in front of security gates at the departure hall.
‘I want to shut down the airport just like yesterday so most of the departure flights will be cancelled,’ a 21-year-old student who gave his surname as Kwok told AFP at the rally.
Protesters attend a sit-in against police violence in Hong Kong International Airport today. The city’s Beijing-backed leader Carrie Lam today warned that protesters were pushing the city down the ‘path of no return’ at a press conference
The protesters’ other demands include launching an independent investigation into alleged police violence and establishing free elections through universal suffrage. Now the city’s residents choose their leader from Beijing-approved candidates
At Hong Kong airport, operations resumed early on Tuesday morning, a day after thousands of protesters converged on it. But the chaos was far from over, with a massive backlog of flights to clear and the check-ins suspended again this afternoon
The central government in Beijing has ominously characterised the current protest movement as something approaching ‘terrorism’ that poses an ‘existential threat’ to the local citizenry. While protesters continue to demand the city’s government release arrested demonstrators, investigate police’s actions and withdraw the extradition bill that sparked the unrest
Travelers argue with protesters as they try to go through the departure gates of the Hong Kong International Airport
The Hong Kong police attempted to fend off criticism yesterday after being accused of using excessive violence during clashes on Sunday. Online footage shows officers shooting projectiles within a close range to protesters at a subway station
Protesters sleep on the floor at the Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday amid calls for fresh action today
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam is pictured speaking today. Lam told reporters that dialogue would only begin when the violence stopped. She reiterated her support for the police and said they had had to make on-the-spot decisions
Anti-government protesters use trolleys to set up barricades in front of security gates during a demonstration at Hong Kong airport on Tuesday, ignoring the latest warnings from Lam and Beijing. Beijing has also made ominous declarations, branding the anti-extradition bill’s activists, in their 10th week of protests, ‘mobsters’ and likened them to terrorism
Anti-government protesters prepare to stage another sit-in today as they use baggage trolleys to blockade the airport
The protesters set up a long barricade made of luggage trolleys at one of the main security gates, then stood up to block passengers who sought to get through.
Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flagship airline, on Tuesday morning listed more than 200 flight cancellations and urged customers to postpone non-essential travel from Hong Kong.
Frank Filser, 53, was struggling to reschedule a flight back to Germany to visit his father who has terminal cancer.
But he said he sympathised with the protesters despite the disruption.
‘They fight for Hong Kong and that’s their view,’ he said.
‘Anytime I can go back to Germany, but what about the people who grew up here? This is their home.’
Only a handful of protesters remained at the airport and it was unclear how many would respond to calls on social media to return later in the day.
Many of the posters and artwork the protesters had hung throughout the airport on Monday were taken down, but graffiti – some reading ‘an eye for an eye’ – could still be seen in several places.
A nurse wears an eyepatch and face mask as medical staff take part in a protest against police brutality on the protesters at a hospital in Hong Kong today. Around 500 medical workers reportedly staged silent protests in 13 public hospitals today
Demonstrators have in recent days focused on their demand for an independent inquiry into what they call the police’s abuse of power and negligence. Medical staff are seen holding signs that read ‘Why no one mentions about tear gas’ (bottom left) and ‘Using tear gas indoors, who is the actual murderer’ (bottom right) during a peaceful sit-in protest today
Nurses wearing eyepatch and face masks take part in a protest against alleged police brutality to the protesters at a hospital in Hong Kong today. The sign on the left reads ‘Have conscience in the heart. Guardian justice’
At a press conference yesterday, police confirmed that officers fired one shot of tear gas into a train station Sunday, saying it was necessary to disperse violent protesters. A spokesperson also admitted to have used undercover officers
Addressing criticism of police firing pepper spray pellets at close range, officials said the weapon was not lethal. They added they were gathering evidence about whether a female protester who was pictured with a bleeding eye was hit by police
Hong Kong is at a critical juncture after two months of anti-government street protests and violence there must stop, China’s Hong Kong and Macau affairs office said on Monday. Yang Guang, a spokesman for the office, delivered a televised address
‘Hong Kong’s radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging,’ said Yang Guang in Beijing
The protesters adopted the slogan after a woman suffered a serious facial injury that reportedly caused her to lose the vision in one eye at a demonstration that turned violent on Sunday night.
The demonstrators have accused police of causing the injury by firing a bean-bag round, and cite the case as evidence of what they say has been an excessive and disproportionate response by police to their protests.
Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific today said it had suspended with immediate effect on Tuesday a second officer operating flight CX216 for misuse of company information, and had also commenced internal disciplinary proceedings.
The flight was on Monday, it said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
A trending clip, filmed by Hong Kong Free Press, shows one suspected undercover Hong Kong police officer apparently helping his uniformed colleague to pin a protester to the ground
Hong Kong police yesterday admitted at a press conference that they had used ‘decoy officers’ during demonstrations to help catch ‘violent protesters’. The police declined to give details
The young man, who said his name was Chow Ka-lok and asked for a lawyer, was shown with a bleeding head wound and said he had a broken tooth. The clip has sparked public outrage
‘WHEN WILL YOU DIE?’ CARRIE LAM GRILLED BY REPORTERS
When Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam appeared before the press on Tuesday, she appeared to be expecting to deliver a brief statement and move on.
Instead she faced a media onslaught.
‘You blame your own political misjudgement on others, and refuse to acknowledge your mistakes,’ one journalist said.
‘Mrs Lam, many citizens have been asking recently when you will die,’ yelled another.
‘When will you accept political responsibility to end citizens’ fear?… When will you be willing to step down? When will you tell the police to stop?,’ the reporter from Hong Kong’s public broadcaster RTHK asked.
Before Lam could respond, the reporter added an admonition: ‘You asked me in the past to take my job seriously, so please answer me seriously as well.’
The airline company yesterday warned its staff that they could be fired if they ‘support or participate in illegal protests’ as the airline comes under pressure from Beijing.
The warning follows new regulations imposed by China’s aviation regulator, which requires the airline company to submit manifests of staff on flights to the mainland or through its airspace.
Cathay Pacific said on Saturday it had suspended a pilot charged with rioting and sacked two ground employees for misconduct in cases that are apparently related to the ongoing protests.
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.
The demonstrations have become increasingly violent, with police using tear gas and rubber bullets, and protesters sometimes hurling bricks and bottles.
Authorities in Beijing on Monday slammed violent protesters who threw petrol bombs at police officers, linking them to ‘terrorism’.
‘Hong Kong’s radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging,’ said Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.
Hours later, two state media outlets ran videos showing armoured personnel and troop carriers purportedly driving to Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.
China’s state-run media on Tuesday then sought to ramp up the pressure.
Monday’s rally came as China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs office said the city had reached a critical juncture and after police had made a show of demonstrating a powerful water cannon. One protester is seen accusing police of using violence
All remaining flights out of Hong Kong International Airport were cancelled on Monday after protesters swarmed to a terminal building to stage a sit-in
Protesters started three days of rallies at the city’s busy airport on Friday
‘Black-clad mobsters have created an atmosphere of terror on the Hong Kong streets,’ the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary.
A senior official in the administration of US President Donald Trump on Monday urged ‘all sides’ to avoid violence in Hong Kong.
‘Societies are best served when diverse political views are respected and can be freely and peacefully expressed,’ the official said on condition of anonymity.
Hong Kong’s last British governor Chris Patten today cautioned that if China intervened in Hong Kong, it would be a catastrophe and that Chinese President Xi Jinping should see the wisdom of trying to bring people together.
Patten said it was counter-productive of the Chinese to warn of ‘other methods’ if the protests did not stop.
‘That would be a catastrophe for China and of course for Hong Kong,’ Patten told BBC radio. ‘Since President Xi has been in office, there’s been a crackdown on dissent and dissidents everywhere, the party has been in control of everything.’
Patten said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson should ask U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton who is in London this week to get Washington to agree that it would be a ‘catastrophe’ if China was to intervene in Hong Kong.