Hong Kong airport cancels flights due to protests

Reuters

Posted at Aug 12 2019 04:35 PM | Updated as of Aug 13 2019 08:47 AM

Anti-extradition bill protesters attend a mass demonstration after a woman was shot in the eye during a protest at Hong Kong International Airport, in Hong Kong, China August 12, 2019. Tyrone Siu, Reuters

HONG KONG- (2nd UPDATE) Hong Kong's Airport Authority has canceled all flights not yet checked in by Monday afternoon, the agency said, as anti-government protesters peacefully demonstrated at the airport for the fourth day.

"Other than departure flights that have completed the check-in process and the arrival flights already heading to Hong Kong, all other flights have been canceled for the rest of today," the authority said in a statement.

Traffic on roads to the airport was very congested and car park spaces were full, the authority said.

Police fired volleys of tear gas at protesters across the territory on Sunday and staged baton charges in flashpoints in downtown Hong Kong and in working class districts.

The increasingly violent protests have plunged Chinese-ruled Hong Kong into its most serious crisis in decades and presented a serious challenge to Beijing.

What began as opposition to a proposed bill to allow people to be extradited to mainland China to stand trial in Communist Party-controlled courts has evolved into calls for greater democracy in Hong Kong.

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the "one country, two systems" arrangement enshrining some autonomy for Hong Kong when China took it back in 1997. They are calling on the government to listen to public demands particularly an independent investigation into the handling of the protests.

Beijing says criminals and agitators are stirring violence, encouraged by "interfering" foreign powers including Britain, but the protests seem to enjoy broad support in the city of more than 7 million people.