Thu, Aug 15, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Flights restart at HK airport, while activists apologize


Pro-democracy demonstrators apologize for Tuesday’s clashes with police at the Hong Kong International Airport yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Flights yesterday resumed at Hong Kong International Airport after two days of disruptions marked by outbursts of violence that highlight the hardening positions of pro-democracy protesters and authorities in the territory.

About three dozen protesters remained camped in the airport’s arrivals area a day after a mass demonstration and frenzied mob violence forced more than 100 flight cancelations.

Additional identification checks were in place, but check-in counters were open and flights appeared to be operating normally.

Protesters spread pamphlets and posters across the floor in a section of the terminal, but were not impeding travelers.

Online, they circulated materials apologizing to travelers and the general public for inconveniences during the past five days.

“It is not our intention to cause delays to your travels and we do not want to cause inconvenience to you,” an e-mailed statement from a group of protesters said. “We ask for your understanding and forgiveness as young people in Hong Kong continue to fight for freedom and democracy.”

Airport Authority Hong Kong obtained “an interim injunction to restrain persons from unlawfully and willfully obstructing or interfering” with airport operations, it said, adding that an area of the airport had been set aside for demonstrations.

The protesters had “entirely ruptured legal and moral bottom lines” and would face swift and severe repercussions under Hong Kong’s legal system, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said in a statement yesterday.

Most of the protesters left the airport on Tuesday after officers armed with pepper spray and swinging batons tried to enter the terminal, fighting with demonstrators who barricaded entrances with luggage carts.

US President Donald Trump tweeted that US intelligence believes that the Chinese government is moving troops to its border with Hong Kong and that “everyone should be calm and safe!”

Trump faced criticism in the US for avoiding harsh words over Beijing’s response to the protesters, as China denied requests for two US Navy ships to visit Hong Kong, according to a statement released on Tuesday by the Pacific Fleet.

The USS Green Bay, an amphibious dock landing ship, was to stop on Saturday in Hong Kong, while the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie planned a port call there next month, US Pacific Fleet deputy spokesman Commander Nate Christensen said in a statement.

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