Hong Kong’s airport authority has canceled all flights for a second day as hundreds of protesters staged a fifth consecutive day of protests at the busy airport. There is no word on freighter operations, although yesterday’s closure had only minimal impact on freighter movements.
“Terminal operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted as a result of the public assembly at the airport today,” the airport authority said, adding that check-in service for departing flights had been suspended since 4.30pm (local time).
Clad in the unofficial protest uniform of black and wearing face masks, demonstrators at the airport today chanted: “Stand with Hong Kong, fight for freedom”, as passengers hurried to catch rescheduled and delayed flights passed through the airport, according to a Guardian report. For Channel News Asia video of today’s airport protests, see here.
An estimated 300 incoming and outbound flights were cancelled in yesterday’s unprecedented airport closure with Cathay Pacific alone, forced to cancel at least 80 flights to the region.
Cathay posted a warning to passengers on its website that there was “potential for further flight disruptions at short notice” and encouraged passengers to postpone non-essential travel until Thursday.
Chris Patten, the last British governor in Hong Kong told the BBC that any moves by Beijing to quell dissent in the city would “be a catastrophe for China and of course Hong Kong”.
“Since President Xi has been in office, there’s been a crackdown on dissent and dissidents everywhere, the party has been in control of everything,” he said, urging Xi to see the wisdom of trying to bring people together.
Patten added it was counterproductive of the Chinese to warn of “other methods” if the protests did not stop.
Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam said Hong Kong had “reached [a] dangerous situation” and that violence during protests are pushing the city “into an abyss” by attacking its institutions, in what she called attempts to “destroy the rule of law”. Lam was heckled at a press conference today, refusing to answer a Reuters reporter’s question as to whether she had the autonomy from Beijing to kill the extradition bill. Lam appeared to nearly break into tears at one point during the tense press conference.
Meanwhile, China’s official Xinhua news agency again on Tuesday spoke of “black-clad mobsters” and said Hong Kong‘s future was at a “critical juncture”. China also said on Monday that the demonstrations had begun to show “sprouts of terrorism”.
Late Monday night, two Chinese state media outlets ran videos showing armoured personnel and troop carriers purportedly driving to Shenzhen, just across the border with Hong Kong.