World

Hong Kong airport reopens, hundreds of flights remain cancelled

ANI | August 13, 2019 10:33 AM
Flight information board at Hong Kong airport on Tuesday  

Hong Kong, Aug 13 (ANI): Hong Kong airport reopened on Tuesday, a day after a pro-democracy protest brought the air transport hub to a complete standstill. However, hundreds of flights were still listed as cancelled.

On Tuesday morning, stranded passengers were seen lining up to catch their delayed flights, as airport authorities announced that it will implement rescheduling while blaming demonstrators for the chaos, Al Jazeera reported.

Passengers with luggage were being checked in for flights, and only a handful of the thousands of protesters who flooded the airport a day earlier remained in the building.

The flight status board at the departures hall showed several flights listed as "boarding soon" with new take-off times listed for others.

The city's leader Carrie Lam denounced the demonstrations saying that "lawbreaking activities in the name of freedom" were damaging the rule of law, and that Hong Kong's recovery from anti-government protests could take a long time.

However, South China Morning Post reported that as many as 160 outbound and 150 inbound flights were already cancelled for the rest of the day on Tuesday.

With a short warning, authorities cancelled all outgoing flights on Monday afternoon, as thousands of protesters started to gather in the departure areas of the airport.

Monday's airport protest was a rare case of the movement having a direct impact on business travel and tourism - mainstays of Hong Kong's economy.

Many protesters on Monday said that they were angered by the police crackdown on Sunday's protests, in which several people suffered injuries and at least one female medic was blinded in one eye.

Police officers were seen firing tear gas at protesters inside a train station while beating some with their batons.

Following this development, China reiterated its rhetoric, accusing demonstrators of "wantonly" trampling on Hong Kong's rule of law and social order.

"Hong Kong's radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging," Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a press briefing in Beijing on Monday.

Hong Kong has witnessed around 10 weeks of mass anti-government protests that were sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill which would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China.

The demonstrations have since expanded into wider demands for democratic reforms, a call for Lam to resign and an independent inquiry into police conduct during the demonstrations. (ANI)

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