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.
China’s Hong Kong Liaison office compared protesters to terrorists Wednesday, as the city's international airport reopened following a night of 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. Security has been stepped up at the airport, according to the Wall Street Journal. A few dozen protesters remained at the airport, Reuters reports. Flights appeared to be running more or less as scheduled, the BBC notes.
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
Background: On Monday, thousands of demonstrators packed the main terminal and bus, train and taxi exits, per Reuters. On Tuesday, Thousands of protesters defied warnings from China and Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam and returned for a 5th consecutive day of airport protests.
- Protesters packed the departure area and blocked security gates before pepper-spray carrying riot police entered the airport for the first time since the protests began, according to the Washington Post. Clashes ensued into the night.
- 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 admitted 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: Hong Kong International Airport is one of the busiest in the world, with about 1,100 flights daily across nearly 200 destinations.
- 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.
What they're saying: Activists including Joshua Wong, the pro-democracy protest leader who became a symbol of Hong Kong's 2014 Umbrella Movement, apologized for the disruptions they had caused at the airport.
【Sorry for inconvenience. HK is sick.】— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 (@joshuawongcf) August 14, 2019
1. We would like to sincerely apologize for all inconvenience caused by the peaceful demonstration at the HK International Airport. pic.twitter.com/jduMrjBh4I
Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the demonstrations, airport developments and Lam's comments.
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