More Protests at Hong Kong Airport as City’s Leader Pleads for Calm


HONG KONG — Anti-government demonstrators staged one other protest at Hong Kong’s airport on Tuesday, as the town’s embattled chief pleaded for order after days of escalating chaos, mass flight cancellations and violent avenue clashes.

The newest demonstration got here a day after protesters stormed the cavernous arrivals and departures halls at Hong Kong International Airport, successfully shuttering the transportation hub, one of many world’s busiest. They had additionally staged a three-day sit-in within the arrivals corridor over the weekend that didn’t noticeably disrupt companies.

The Hong Kong Airport Authority mentioned in a press release early Tuesday that flights have been “expected to be affected” by rescheduling. By midmorning, the airport’s web site confirmed that greater than 300 flights that day had already been canceled, and by midafternoon a whole lot of demonstrators bearing indicators saying “HK is dangerous” and “Hong Kong is no longer safe” had occupied elements of the departures and arrivals halls.

The escalating unrest this month has put the Asian monetary hub on edge, partly as a result of Beijing has began to warn protesters in more and more strident phrases to face down or face penalties. The prospect that China would ship its navy into Hong Kong to revive order nonetheless seems distant, however the truth that analysts and the town’s residents are even discussing it underlines the depths of the political disaster.

In a information convention with combative reporters on Tuesday morning, Hong Kong’s chief, Carrie Lam, mentioned that with out the rule of legislation it might be inconceivable for the town’s residents to “continue to live in a peaceful manner.”

“The stability and well-being of seven million people are in jeopardy,” Mrs. Lam mentioned, her voice breaking barely. “Take a minute to think about that. Look at our city, our home. Do we really want to push our home to the abyss where it will be smashed into pieces?”

During avenue clashes this summer time, the Hong Kong police have often fired tear fuel, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds to disperse protesters on the streets, even in residential areas and crowded buying districts.

Toward the end of the briefing, Mrs. Lam said that police operations are not determined by “someone like myself, who is outside the police,” and that officers on the ground had to make spot judgments.

Much of the pressure has focused in recent days on Cathay Pacific Airways, one of the territory’s best-known international brands. The Chinese government has forced it to bar staffers who support or participate in the protests from doing any work involving flights to mainland China.

On Tuesday afternoon, Rupert Hogg, the airline’s chief executive, warned employees against participating in Tuesday’s airport protest because it was not sanctioned by the government.

“It is important that you do not support or participate in this protest,” Mr. Hogg said in a statement. “Again, we would be concerned about your safety if this protest becomes disorderly or violent.”

Other issues have often loomed larger than the extradition bill during recent protests, including the stalled promise of more direct elections, the use of force by the police against demonstrators and a call for Mrs. Lam to resign. But the stalled extradition bill still enrages protesters, and continues to fuel their civil disobedience.

Mrs. Lam has said the legislation is “dead,” but her administration has declined to fully withdraw it.

Asked by a Reuters reporter on Tuesday if she had the autonomy to withdraw the legislation, Mrs. Lam said: “This has been answered before on numerous occasions.”

“But you’ve avoided the question on numerous occasions,” the reporter said. There has been widespread speculation over to what extent China’s central government is influencing the Hong Kong government’s position on the issue.

Mrs. Lam has refused to meet with protesters or to offer any concessions beyond saying that she would shelve the extradition bill.



Source link Nytimes.com

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