Hong Kong airport reopens after 2 days

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s airport resumed operations on Wednesday, rescheduling hundreds of flights that had been disrupted over the past two days as protesters clashed with riot police in a deepening crisis in the Chinese-controlled city.
Ten weeks of increasingly violent clashes between police and pro-democracy protesters, angered by a perceived erosion of freedoms, have plunged the Asian financial hub into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
A few dozen protesters remained at the airport on Wednesday while workers scrubbed it clean of blood and debris from overnight. Check-in counters reopened to queues of hundreds of weary travellers who had waited overnight for their flights.
Police condemned violent acts by protesters overnight and said on Wednesday a large group had “harassed and assaulted a visitor and a journalist”. Some protesters said they believed one of those men was an undercover Chinese agent, while another was confirmed as a reporter from China’s Global Times newspaper.
Five people were detained in the latest disturbances, police said, bringing the number of those arrested since the protests began in June to more than 600.
Operations at the airport were seriously disrupted as riot police used pepper spray to disperse thousands of black-clad protesters.
Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said on Wednesday it had obtained an interim court injunction to stop people from obstructing airport operations. It said protesters could only demonstrate in designated areas.
Dicky, a 35-year-old protester at the airport for more than two days, said protesters would obey the injunction if it meant they had to leave, despite anger felt towards the government and the police, plus triad gangs who have been blamed for attacking some protesters.
“We saw the government arrested many people, many are injured, some committed suicide. We will continue to fight for what we deserve otherwise all of that would have been in vain,” he said, declining to give his full name.
In Washington, US President Donald Trump said the Chinese government was moving troops to the border with Hong Kong and urged calm. He described events in Hong Kong as tricky but said he hoped it would work out for everybody, including China, and “for liberty” without anyone getting hurt or killed.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday the city had been pushed into a state of “panic and chaos”.
China condemned some protesters for using dangerous tools to attack police, saying the clashes showed “sprouts of terrorism”. The protests represent one of the biggest challenges for Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.
In a potentially ominous sign, a front-page commentary in the overseas edition of the Communist Party’s official People’s Daily newspaper said on Wednesday that using the “sword of the law to stop violence and restore order is overwhelmingly the most important and urgent task for Hong Kong”.
Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement that enshrined some autonomy for Hong Kong when it returned to China in 1997.
The protests began in opposition to a now-suspended bill that would have allowed the extradition of suspects for trial in mainland China but have swelled into wider calls for democracy. — Reuters