Hong Kong airport protests: What you need to know
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by Axios | 8.14.19
This piece was authored by Axios, and its content solely reflects the published views of Axios and its journalists.
Hong Kong International Airport rescheduled hundreds of flights that had been disrupted over 2 days of protests as it reopened Wednesday following clashes between police and demonstrators, Reuters reports.
What's new: The Airport Authority said it had obtained a temporary injunction banning protesters from entering certain areas, per the BBC. Police said they had detained 5 people over Tuesday's clashes, bringing the total number of arrests to more than 600 since protests began in June, according to Reuters. Bloomberg reports that China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong issued a statement comparing protesters to "terrorists."
Operations in Hong Kong International Airport including check-in services have resumed normal. Please check your flight status at https://t.co/mkS9F2LDcW before proceeding to the airport. Once again, thank you for your understanding.— Cathay Pacific (@cathaypacific) August 13, 2019
Catch up quick: On Monday, thousands of demonstrators packed the main terminal and bus, train and taxi exits, Reuters reports. It prompted the Chinese government to claim the former British colony's uprising contained "sprouts of terrorism," raising fears China may use such language to justify a heavy-handed response or harsh charges for those detained.
- Thousands of protesters defied warnings from China and Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam and returned for a 5th consecutive day of airport protests Tuesday, packing the departure area and blocking security gates before pepper-spray carrying riot police entered the airport for the first time since the protests began, the Washington Post notes.
- Paramilitary police were assembling across the border in Shenzhen — a move some see as a threat to protesters, per AP. Trump tweeted earlier Tuesday that U.S. intelligence had told him of the move, saying "Everyone should be calm and safe!"
- Lam told a news conference that the city was on "the brink of no return." She said "lawbreaking activities in the name of freedom" were damaging the rule of law and warned protesters were pushing Hong Kong to "an abyss."
- The Hong Kong leader defended police amid brutality claims. Law enforcement told a news conference earlier that some officers posed as protesters during unrest on Sunday, according to the BBC.
Here's what Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam said when asked if she had the autonomy to fully withdraw the extradition bill that initially triggered protests in the city https://t.co/cF1C43elMf pic.twitter.com/KVRcADOv45— Bloomberg (@business) August 13, 2019
Why it matters: The chaos at the airport marks a massive disruption to the Chinese-controlled territory's economy since protests started in June. The airport directly and indirectly contributes to about 5% of Hong Kong's gross domestic product, per Bloomberg.
The big picture: The airport is one of the busiest in the world, with about 1,100 flights daily across nearly 200 destinations. The disruption at came after riot police used tear gas on Hong Kongers in the 10th straight weekend of protests
Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the demonstrations, airport developments and Lam's comments.
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