Friday, 06 December, 2019

Cathay Falls as It Draws China Wrath Over Hong Kong Protests

Daily police briefing Daily police briefing
Ginger Lawrence | 12 August, 2019, 16:31

Hong Kong's global airport has ground to a halt Monday as thousands of protesters swarmed its main terminal to express their outrage over another night of violent clashes between pro-democracy activists and riot police.

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.

Riot police fire tear gas during a clearing at a demonstration in Tai Wan in Hong Kong on August 10, 2019.

The Hong Kong administration branded the protests as "unlawful assemblies" and said a petrol bomb had injured a policeman.

It warned that traffic to the airport was "very congested" and the facility's vehicle parks were completely full.

Legislators and journalists were invited to witness the display of extreme crowd control tactics, which came after a weekend of protests at the airport and on the streets of one of the city's main shopping districts.

Beijing told the airline that staff involved in the protests that have gripped Hong Kong for more than two months would be banned from flights to the mainland.

Hong Kong's radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely unsafe tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging.

Hong Kong's airport is a major regional hub, handling 1,100 passenger and cargo flights daily, with services between the city and about 200 worldwide destinations.

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Police made arrests at several locations throughout the day, with protesters accusing plainclothes officers of dressing in the movement's signature black to infiltrate their ranks and detain activists.

The increasingly violent protests since June have emerged as Hong Kong's most serious crisis in decades and become one of the biggest challenges to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he took power in 2012. "Hong Kong has reached an inflection point where all those who are concerned about Hong Kong's future must say "no" to lawbreakers and "no" to those engaged in violence". The reports declared that the photo was evidence of a U.S. "black hand" in the protest seeking to foment a "colour revolution" in Hong Kong.

But at the station in central Hong Kong, from where the train departs, groups are congregating around flight displays, and looking for information on their phones, trying to figure out their next steps.

Several other exchanges followed, with protesters, wearing helmets and masks, mostly withdrawing when police fired gas or advanced with shields and truncheons, exhausting authorities and leaving the weeks-long stand-off little closer to resolution.

They are demanding the resignation of the city's leader, Carrie Lam, and an independent investigation into the handling of the protests.

The entry of the working class of Hong Kong into the protest movement has not only provoked fears in Beijing but also concerns in Washington and among United States allies amid a resurgence of the class struggle internationally.

Protesters with protection gears face with riot police.

"Independence for Hong Kong is not viable in the near term", acknowledged protester Sam, 23, a barrister, while music pumped from cabaret lounges in Wan Chai's bar district behind him, "But we have to fight for our freedoms and democracy".

The warning follows new regulations imposed by China's aviation regulator requiring Cathay Pacific to submit manifests of staff on flights to the mainland or through its airspace.