Sat, Aug 24, 2019 - Page 6 News List

HK airport faces renewed protest turbulence

HAND-IN-HAND:Accountants joined the ranks of professions backing the protesters with their own rally yesterday, in addition to a ‘Baltic chain’ and ‘rally of Christians’

Reuters, AP and AFP, HONG KONG

Protesters form a human chain during a rally for political reform at the Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Hong Kong braced for a protest “stress test” of the airport this weekend, as weeks of demonstrations showed no signs of letting up.

“Go to the airport by different means, including MTR, airport bus, taxi, bike and private car to increase pressure on airport transport,” protest organizers wrote online.

The Airport Authority published a half-page notice in newspapers urging young people to “love Hong Kong” and said it opposed acts that blocked the airport.

Hong Kong’s High Court extended an order restricting protests at the airport.

Protests yesterday included a march by accountants; a “Baltic chain,” in which protesters were to join hands across different districts in the evening; and a “rally of Christians.”

In 1989, an estimated 2 million people joined arms across three Baltic states in a protest against Soviet rule that became known as the “Baltic way” or “Baltic chain,” while at least 2 million Taiwanese in 2004 formed a human chain to protest China’s deployment of missiles against the nation.

At about noon, a few thousand accountants gathered in a downtown square and marched to government headquarters, becoming the latest profession to back the movement following rallies by lawyers, teachers and medical workers.

Kenneth Leung (梁繼昌), a Hong Kong Legislative Council member who represents the accounting industry, said that a controversial extradition bill would have affected accountants, as many of them have clients in mainland China and travel there.

“A lot of bosses are apolitical. However, politics comes to you even when you try to avoid it,” Leung told the rally.

He put the number taking part in the march at 5,000.

Meanwhile, Alphabet Inc’s Google has said that 210 YouTube channels appearing to engage in a coordinated influence operation around the protests were disabled.

The channels behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the protests, said Shane Huntley of the company’s security threat analysis group.

“This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter,” Huntley said in an online post.

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