Riot police fire tear gas during the anti-extradition bill protest in Hong Kong. Picture: AP
Riot police fire tear gas during the anti-extradition bill protest in Hong Kong. Picture: AP

Hong Kong airport protest erupts

ONE of the world's busiest airports cancelled all flights after thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators crowded into Hong Kong's main terminal in a move branded by Beijing as "terrorism."

Officials from the airport said that the demonstration "seriously disrupted" airport operations and that all check-in services for departing flights had been suspended.

It said only those flights that have already completed the check-in process will move ahead.

"Other than the departure flights that have completed the check-in process and the arrival flights that are already heading to Hong Kong, all other flights have been cancelled for the rest of today," the airport authority said in a statement.

 

Protesters surround banners that read:
Protesters surround banners that read: "Those charge to the street on today is brave!," centre top, and "Release all the detainees!" during a sit-in rally at the arrival hall of the Hong Kong International airport. Picture: AP

 

Protesters occupy the arrival hall of the Hong Kong International Airport. Picture: AP
Protesters occupy the arrival hall of the Hong Kong International Airport. Picture: AP

 

Protesters demonstrate at the airport in Hong Kong. Picture: AP
Protesters demonstrate at the airport in Hong Kong. Picture: AP

 

A massive traffic jam soon formed on the highway leading back to Hong Kong's city center. Some protesters were seen walking toward the airport amid the stifling heat. The new protest comes after horrific photos show Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters battered and bruised as the city descended into chaos for the 10th weekend in a row.

Police in Hong Kong fired volleys of tear gas at activists who defied warnings from authorities. Commuters were seen covering their mouths as they walked through an underground station while some activists were caught scuffling with Beijing supporters. Other protesters were photographed with bloodied faces.

The protesters staged a second night of "hit-and-run" rallies, splitting into small groups that scattered across the city to set up temporary roadblocks and face off against riot police.

Police denied their requests for permits to stage a march from the city's Victoria Park and in the Sham Shui Po neighbourhood, but the protesters gathered anyway.

By early Sunday afternoon, thousands were in Victoria Park, braving hot and humid conditions.

"The police should try their best to maintain public security instead of rejecting our request to march," said a 25-year-old protester who gave only her family name, Wong.

"We're still here... We won't worry that much about illegal assembly. We still have our rights," she said

Police fired tear gas late on Sunday afternoon to try to disperse a demonstration in Hong Kong. Picture: AP
Police fired tear gas late on Sunday afternoon to try to disperse a demonstration in Hong Kong. Picture: AP

 

In Sham Shui Po, they used metal fencing and plastic ties to construct makeshift barricades and block the road near the local police station, shining blue lasers at the building as officers held up a flag warning the crowd to disperse.

A woman ran across the stretch of the no-man's land between the two sides, clutching an orange shopping bag as she tried to avoid the confrontation.

Shortly afterwards, protesters threw bricks and police began firing tear gas.

 

'THE LAST HOPE'

Other demonstrators blocked roads in Wan Chai, where police headquarters is located, and the Causeway Bay shopping district, chanting "reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our times".

"There is no chance of retreating, and as a Hong Konger, this is the last hope we see of being able to achieve democracy," said a 20-year-old protester who gave his last name as Lam.

"We still love Hong Kong and we think Hong Kong still has a chance of obtaining a democratic system." Elsewhere, scuffles broke out between pro-Beijing residents and unidentified bystanders - as well as media - with police intervening in some cases to pull people apart.

Protesters also faced off against police in the Kwai Fong train station, with the demonstrators using fire extinguishers and a water hose against riot officers who fired tear gas into the terminal.

The apparently random and constant movement of protesters throughout the city reflected the mantra of flexible action that they have adopted dubbed "be water." "We are leaderless, and practically everything is being decided by those on the front lines, and we follow along," said a protester who gave his surname as Cheung.

"I think our previous tactics of staying in one place led to many arrests and injuries," added another 17-year-old student activist who gave only his surname, Chan.

"We need to 'be water' to avoid injuries."

More protests are planned for this week following the weekend violence. Picture: AP
More protests are planned for this week following the weekend violence. Picture: AP

 

EYE OF THE STORM

Metro stations in Hong Kong have resumed regular service and streets are being cleaned of debris as the city recovers from another night of violent clashes between anti-government protesters and police.

More protests are planned for this week.

Activists are expected to gather at the city's international airport for a fourth day in a row on Monday and plan to rally outside police headquarters on Monday night.

Protesters use a slingshot during clashes with police at a demonstration in the Tsim Sha Tsui area in Hong Kong. Picture: AFP
Protesters use a slingshot during clashes with police at a demonstration in the Tsim Sha Tsui area in Hong Kong. Picture: AFP

 

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.

What began as opposition to a proposed bill to allow people to be extradited to mainland China to stand trial in Communist Party-controlled courts has evolved into calls for greater democracy in Hong Kong.

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the "one country, two systems" arrangement enshrining some autonomy for Hong Kong when China took it back in 1997.

Riot police stand off with protesters at Kwai Fong district. Picture: Getty
Riot police stand off with protesters at Kwai Fong district. Picture: Getty

 

They are calling on the government to listen to public demands particularly an independent investigation into the handling of the protests. Beijing says criminals and agitators are stirring violence, encouraged by "interfering" foreign powers including Britain, but the protests seem to enjoy broad support in the city of more than 7 million people.

Police have arrested more than 600 people since the protests started more than two months ago.



IN COURT: The 68 people facing the magistrate today

premium_icon IN COURT: The 68 people facing the magistrate today

A list of individuals appearing in Local Court on criminal charges at Coffs Harbour...

It’s back! $1-a-week subscription offer returns

premium_icon It’s back! $1-a-week subscription offer returns

Our cheapest deal is back offering the best journalism and rewards

Emotional reunion 30 years on from Cowper tragedy

premium_icon Emotional reunion 30 years on from Cowper tragedy

Former SES officer meets survivor of crash for first time