Hundreds of flights were either cancelled or suspended at the Hong Kong airport on Tuesday as protestors took over the security gates and blocked it with luggage trolleys to prevent passengers from passing, AFP reported. Earlier in the day, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam cautioned anti-government protestors against pushing the city into “an abyss”.
All check-ins were cancelled on Tuesday afternoon after protestors, donning black t-shirts, barred passengers from going through the gates. “I want to shut down the airport just like yesterday so most of the departure flights will be cancelled,” a 21-year-old student was quoted as saying. This is second consecutive day when operations at the airport were affected because of anti-government protests.
Passengers were asked to leave the terminal buildings of the airport – one of the busiest in the world – immediately, BBC reported. Some of the demonstrators also held signs apologising for the inconvenience to the general population at the airport while others wore eye bandages, protesting against the alleged police brutality. A woman’s eye was injured during protests over the weekend.
Doctors at the city’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital also staged a sit-in on Tuesday against the use of violence by the police on protestors. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed concern over the situation in Hong Kong, and asked authorities to exercise restraint.
“Officials can be seen firing tear gas canisters into crowded, enclosed areas and directly at individual protesters on multiple occasions, creating a considerable risk of death or serious injury,” BBC quoted Bachelet as saying. She also called for a swift and impartial inquiry into the alleged use of excessive force to control the crowd.
On Tuesday, Lam said that the city had reached a “dangerous situation” and the violence could potentially send it down “a path of no return”. An official from the Chinese Liaison Office in the city also said Hong Kong would go into an “bottomless abyss if the terror atrocities are allowed to continue”.
Lam also defended the police, claiming they were handling extremely difficult situations. Mass protests have continued in Hong Kong for about 10 weeks now. They started with demonstrations against a proposed extradition bill that was suspended because of the violent unrest. However, the protests evolved into a pro-democracy movement as people feared that the special freedom that Hong Kong possessed would be taken away by China.