Hong Kong Grounds All Flights After Protesters Bring International Airport to Standstill

Erika Holt
August 13, 2019

Earlier on Monday, Hong Kong police unveiled water cannon trucks as a new way to combat pro-democracy protesters after tear gas and rubber bullets failed to stop more than two months of rallies.

The increasingly violent protests since June have plunged the Asian financial hub into its most serious crisis in decades and are one of the biggest popular challenges to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

Pro-democracy activists staged three days of sit-ins at the airport from Friday, but the protests were significantly smaller than Monday's which followed a weekend of often violent confrontations between police and demonstrators across the city.

That became a cat-and-mouse chase with demonstrators late into the summer night.

Meanwhile, police also admitted that some of the tear gas they used in clearance operations had "expired" - passed its use-by date - but they did not disclose what amount.

They dispersed, as noxious smoke also filled the train station there, bringing train passengers to tears.

A flight information board shows cancelled flights at Hong Kong's global airport following a protest against the police brutality and the controversial extradition bill on August 12, 2019.

Yesterday protests occurred in a number of locations in Hong Kong, with protesters, many of whom are young, playing cat-and-mouse with police.

"I support them, though I don't agree with all their methods", Annie Chan, an accountant, said at a shopping plaza that protesters briefly occupied.

"If she doesn't listen to the people and respond to our reasonable demands, we're going to continue to spread protests across Hong Kong".

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Police and protesters clash in downtown Hong Kong
The protests have been condemned by the central government in Beijing. There were no reports of flight disruptions. One of its pilots was arrested last week.

A woman waves a British flag during a demonstration at Hong Kong airport. I'd like to ask the United States this question again: "what is the true intention behind your behaviors relating to Hong Kong?"

Two flights between Hong Kong and Guam were canceled Monday, said Kimberly Gibbs, a United spokeswoman.

Authorities have called the citywide demonstrations illegal and risky, while highlighting their impact on the already-faltering economy and residents' daily lives.

Demonstrators, majority young, appeared only to be digging in.

China's aviation regulator has issued new rules requiring that it submit lists of staff flying to the mainland or through its airspace and banning those involved with "illegal protests" in Hong Kong. It has also suspended a pilot for "misconduct" after he took part in protests and was charged with rioting.

Neither warning - one aimed at residents and the other at a business emblematic of the city - deterred demonstrators.

"We are very angry about the police over arresting our teenagers", she said.

They said they were still gathering evidence about whether a young female protester who was pictured with a bleeding eye was hit by police. Such an intervention, were it to take place, would have nothing to do with defending democratic rights in Hong Kong, but would be aimed at prosecuting U.S. imperialist interests and undermining China.

"We hope to provide a safer place for parents and their kids to participate in rallies, and to voice their concerns", said Fion Yim, 35, representative of the organising committee for what was billed as the family protest.

Hong Kong operates within a "One Country, Two Systems" structure with China, but the tension between the duo is escalating quickly as Hong Kong citizens fight for the city's independence.

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