Hong Kong airport chaos as hundreds of protesters storm departure lounge after leader Carrie Lam warns the city is plunging into the ‘abyss’ – The Sun

Hong Kong airport chaos as hundreds of protesters storm departure lounge after leader Carrie Lam warns the city is plunging into the ‘abyss’ – The Sun

HUNDREDS of protesters have again occupied part of Hong Kong airport a day after officials were forced to shut it down amid ongoing demonstrations.

Yesterday saw the fourth consecutive day of pro-democracy sit-ins at the airport when protesters took over the main terminal.



Only a handful remained through the night and flights had resumed this morning, but on Tuesday afternoon several hundred protesters returned and have occupied the departure lounge.

The protests began in opposition to a bill that would allow extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China and has sparked fears that Beijing intends to target its political opponents in the territory.

Participants wore the black shirts that have become the signature of the movement and chanted: "Stand with Hong Kong, stand for freedom".

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has responded today by warning that Hong Kong was heading "down a path of no return".

“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," she said.

“The situation in Hong Kong in the past week has made me very worried that we have reached this dangerous situation.

“Take a minute to think, look at our city, our home, do you all really want to see it pushed into an abyss.”

FIFTH DAY OF AIRPORT PROTESTS

Today marks the fifth day that protesters have staged demonstrations at Hong Kong airport, with officials yesterday taking the unprecedented step of cancelling all flights.

As well as the signature black shirts, some protesters have worn bandages over their eyes in solidarity of a woman who was shot on Sunday by police during demonstrations.

Images circulated on social media of the woman bleeding heavily from her right eye – which doctors now fear she may lose.

The doctor treating her told the South China Morning Post: "I can confirm her injury is really serious."


The current protests represent the biggest disruption to the territory since protests began in early June.

Hong Kong international airport is one of the busiest in the world and officials said yesterday's demonstration had "seriously disrupted" airport operations.

A statement on its website read: "Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted, all flights have been cancelled.

"All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible. Affected passengers please contact their respective airlines for flight arrangement."

The UK Foreign Office warned yesterday: "A protest at Hong Kong Airport on 12 August has resulted in the cancellation of all flights out of Hong Kong for the remainder of 12 August.

"The airport authorities advise members of the public not to travel to the airport."

'EYE FOR AN EYE'

Thousands of demonstrators carried signs that read "an eye for an eye" and "stop shooting eyes" as they shouted "shame on police" during yesterday's sit-in.

China issued a strong statement in response, saying protesters had committed serious crimes and showed signs of "terrorism".

Yang Guang, a spokesman for China's Hong Kong and Macau affairs office, backed the police handling of the protests and said those who care about the city should come out against violence in a televised address.

Airline Cathay Pacific has warned it staff that they could be fired if they "support or participate in illegal protests" in Hong Kong.

What is happening in Hong Kong and why?

Protests have gripped Hong Kong since June 2019, sparked by highly controversial legislation.

If passed, the bill would give loca authorities the right to detain and extradite people who are wanted in countries or territories Hong Kong does not have agreements with – which includes mainland China and Taiwan.

That bill has been shelved for now – but the protests have evolved against the government amid fears of the growing control of China's Communist party.

Protesters also believe their leader should be elected in a more democratic way that reflects the preference of the voters.

The chief executive, Carrie Lam, is currently elected by a 1,200-member election committee – a mostly pro-Beijing body chosen by just six per cent of eligible voters.

The protesters demands are the resignation of the city's leader, Carrie Lam, an amnesty for those arrested and a permanent withdrawal of the bill.

Hong Kong, a former British colony in south eastern China, has long enjoyed a special status under the principal "one country, two systems".

The Basic Law dictates it will retain its common law and capitalist system for 50 years after the handover in 1997.

Chief executive Rupert Hogg of the airline, Hong Kong's flagship carrier, emailed today saying there was "zero tolerance approach to illegal activities" and there would be "disciplinary consequences"  that could include "termination of employment".

Protests have gripped the region since June 2019, sparked by highly controversial legislation to detain and extradite people who are wanted in countries or territories Hong Kong does not have agreements with – which includes mainland China and Taiwan.

That bill has been shelved for now, but the protests have mushroomed into a broader backlash against the government amid fears of the growing control of China's Communist party.

Protesters also believe their leader should be elected in a more democratic way that reflects the preference of the voters.

'ESCALATION OF VIOLENCE'

The chief executive, Carrie Lam, is currently elected by a 1,200-member election committee – a mostly pro-Beijing body chosen by just six per cent of eligible voters.

Activists say they won't stop until their main demands are met.

These include the resignation of the city's leader, Carrie Lam, an amnesty for those arrested and a permanent withdrawal of the bill.

Video footage of the demonstrations over the weekend showed plainclothes officers, who appeared to be disguised as protesters, making arrests as authorities face accusations of using excessive force and throwing teargas indoors.

In one clip, a man is on the ground as an officer wearing jeans has his knee on the protester's neck as a pool of blood from his forehead pools on the concrete.

In another video, heavily-armoured police are seen shooting a pepperball at a protesters, knocking him down.

Man-Kei Tam, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said: “Clashes between protesters and police over the weekend escalated to another level especially on the police side."

Hong Kong, a former British colony in south eastern China, has long enjoyed a special status under the principal "one country, two systems".

The Basic Law dictates that Hong Kong will retain its common law and capitalist system for 50 years after the handover in 1997.

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