Hong Kong protestors cripple airport

Andrew Cummings
August 12, 2019

Hong Kong descended into violence once more on Sunday night, with police firing teargas at protesters across the city, including inside a railway station, as mass demonstrations calling for democracy entered their 10th consecutive week.

Weeks of increasingly violent protests have plunged Hong Kong into its biggest political crisis for decades, posing a serious challenge to China's central government in Beijing.

Demonstrators recently adopted a flash-mob strategy, retreating when pressed by police only to re-emerge at another location.

Those methods were on clear display in the PLA garrison drill and another video distributed last week showing thousands of Chinese riot police conducting a similar exercise in Shenzhen, on the border with Hong Kong. One police officer also suffered partial burns to his leg after being hit by a petrol bomb.

For a fourth straight day on Monday, thousands of activists peacefully occupied the arrivals hall at Hong Kong's busy airport, shouting, "No rioters, only tyranny!" The action "seriously disrupted" the airport's work, the administration said, and led to all flights out of the city being cancelled.

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Tear gas was also used against protesters in several places in Kowloon, the main built-up area on the mainland side of Hong Kong harbor.

A Hong Kong pilot charged with rioting for taking part in a recent protest has been grounded, Cathy Pacific confirmed on Saturday.

Protesters were also enraged at police apparently dressing in the black T-shirts worn by the pro-democracy movement to infiltrate the rallies and make surprise and violent arrests.

"The government called us middle schoolers 'rioters, ' but we are simply going to the streets to exercise our rights, and the police just disperse people with weapons".

Last Thursday and Friday, China's state-owned media circulated a photo of Julie Eaden, political unit chief of the USA consulate general in Hong Kong, meeting in a hotel lobby with prominent opposition leaders, including Joshua Wong, a student leader in the so-called umbrella protests in 2014.

The protests have morphed into a broader bid to reverse a slide of democratic freedoms in the southern Chinese city.

A massive traffic jam soon formed on the highway leading back to Hong Kong's city centre.

Dressed in protective masks and goggles with long sleeve shirts and pants to protect them from teargas, protesters moved back and forth across the city's subway system as police pushed crowds back from one neighbourhood to the next. "A general election is still impossible for us, and Hong Kong is still ruled by a puppet from Beijing", she said.

The entry of the working class of Hong Kong into the protest movement has not only provoked fears in Beijing but also concerns in Washington and among United States allies amid a resurgence of the class struggle internationally.

"We have lived in Hong Kong all our lives and this is the hardest time because the government is not listening to the citizens", said a 63-year-old man surnamed Leung, who joined a protest with his 93-year-old father in a wheelchair.

Shares in Cathay Pacific (0293.HK) tanked in Monday trading after the airline bowed to pressure from China to fire staff that protested against a bill that allows authorities in Hong Kong to extradite locals to mainland China.

The warning follows new regulations imposed by China's aviation regulator requiring Cathay Pacific to submit manifests of staff on flights to the mainland or through its airspace.

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