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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay, Mill Bay, Brentwood Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules for 60 days starting Saturday, April 4

CVRD cancels all recreation and theatre programs through end of April

Community centre and recreation programs cancelled through end of April

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Archer takes on new challenges at BC Winter Games

That thrilling shoot-off resulted in one of Whitworth’s two medals

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

53 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., four new deaths

B.C. has 498 active confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Most Read