Hong Kong International Airport at Standstill for 2nd Day in Row as Protesters Continue Mass Demonstrations; Lam Says Protesters ‘Have Pushed Events Onto a Path of No Return’

  • For the second day in a row, Hong Kong International Airport is at a standstill as pro-democracy protesters have taken over one of the world’s busiest airports, which led to mass flight cancellations, delays and saw protesters clash with riot police.
  • After thousands of protesters flooded the various terminals, riot police arrived to disperse the crowd, leading to violent incidents.
  • According to reports, “calm eventually returned, with most of the protesters leaving the airport hours after officers armed with pepper spray and swinging batons tried to enter the terminal, fighting with demonstrators who barricaded entrances with luggage carts.”
  • There are also reports that demonstrators beat on at least two men that they suspected of being undercover agents.
  • Despite the clashes, protesters announced they plan to return to the airport on Wednesday to continue demonstrating against Hong Kong’s proposed extradition bill, which many citizens see as an erosion to the city’s independence, as well as a pathway toward human right violations by mainland China.
  • Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader, Carrie Lam, said “that the demonstrators had pushed events onto a path of no return, highlighting the hardening positions on both sides.”
  • On Tuesday, “after a brief period when planes were able to take off and land early in the day, authorities were forced to cancel the remaining flights.”
  • The airport authority was forced to suspend “check-in services for departing flights as of 4:30 p.m., with departing flights that had completed the process able to continue to operate.”
  • On Monday, the Chinese government likened the continued protests “as something approaching terrorism,” which it said “poses an existential threat to citizens.”
  • The demonstrations have continued for months to remove the extradition bill off the table, which Lam previously did, but demonstrators have also asked for Lam to step down, which she has refused to do.
  • With Lam rejecting requests to enter into dialogue with protesters, some analysts say part of her strategy involves her trying “to wear down the opposition movement through police action while prompting demonstrators to take more violent and extreme actions that will turn the public against them.”
  • President Trump tweeted on Tuesday: “Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!”

Reference Links

  • BBC: Hong Kong protests cripple airport for second day READ
  • AP: Riot police, protesters clash briefly at Hong Kong airport READ
  • CBS: Riot police clash with protesters at Hong Kong airport as Chinese forces mass at border READ
  • ABC: Riot police storm Hong Kong airport as protesters force second day of flight cancellations READ

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