Flights out of Hong Kong cancelled again amid protests

Airport officials said check-in for departing flights was suspended as of 4:30 p.m. local time

Protesters surround banners that read: “Those on the street today are all warriors!” centre top, and “Release all the detainees!” during a sit-in rally at the arrival hall of the Hong Kong International airport in Hong Kong, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Protesters severely crippled operations at Hong Kong’s international airport for a second day Tuesday, 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 during which flights were able to take off and land, the airport authority announced check-in services for departing flights were suspended as of 4:30 p.m. Departing flights that had completed the process would continue to operate.

It said it did not expect arriving flights to be affected, though dozens were already cancelled. The authority advised people not to come to the airport, one of the world’s busiest transport hubs.

On Monday, more than 200 flights were cancelled and the airport was effectively shut down with no flights taking off or landing.

Passengers have been forced to seek accommodation in the city while airlines struggle to find other ways to get them to their destinations.

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 Communist Party-ruled mainland China took over what had been a British colony.

Those doubts are fueling the protests, which build on a previous opposition movement that shut down much of the city for seven weeks in 2014. That movement eventually fizzled out and its leaders have been jailed on public disturbance charges.

The central government in Beijing has ominously characterized the current protest movement as something approaching “terrorism” that poses an “existential threat” to the local citizenry.

READ MORE: Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong Kong

While Beijing tends to define terrorism broadly, extending it especially to nonviolent movements opposing government policies in minority regions such as Tibet and Xinjiang, the government’s usage of the term in relation to Hong Kong raised the prospect of greater violence and the possible suspension of legal rights for those detained.

Meanwhile, paramilitary police were assembling across the border in the city of Shenzhen for exercises which some saw as a threat to increase force against the mostly young protesters who have turned out in their thousands over the past 10 weeks.

Police have arrested more than 700 protesters since early June and say they have infiltrated the ranks of the demonstrators, leading to concerns that officers were inciting violence. Scores of people have been, both protesters and police, including a woman reported to have had an eye ruptured by a beanbag round fired by police during clashes on Sunday.

Police said they are investigating the incident, which protesters have taken up as a rallying cry. Some of those joining in the airport occupation wore gauze bandages dyed with artificial blood over one eye.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Protesters surround banners that read: “Those on the street today are all warriors!” center top, and “Release all the detainees!” during a sit-in rally at the arrival hall of the Hong Kong International airport in Hong Kong, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Passengers and flight crew arrive at Hong Kong International Airport, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

In this Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, photo, a man holds a placard as thousands of protesters take part in a sit-in rally at the arrival hall of the Hong Kong International Airport, a major hub in Asia, in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Airport security personnel stand guard as travelers walk past protesters holding a sit-in rally at the departure gate of the Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Just Posted

UPDATE: Man in custody after alleged impaired hit-and-run in downtown Kelowna

The victim remains in serious yet stable condition after being struck Saturday night

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

Mistake-riddled offence leads to first loss for Okanagan Sun

The Sun lost to the Westshore Rebels 16-13

Fire departments extinguish suspicious wildfire near West Kelowna

Crews established a fire guard and knocked down the blaze before it grew to one hectare.

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okangan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Kelowna Share Society celebrates International Thrift Shop Day with BBQ

Event helps society say thank-you for community support

Summerland’s downtown has gone through numerous changes

Main Street has been commercial hub of community for many years

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Okanagan climate advocacy group protests against Tolko

Group to demonstrate outside Vernon head office Monday over plan to log close to water supply

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Most Read