Hundreds of flights were cancelled yesterday after protesters flooded the main terminal at one of the world’s busiest airport. The protesters gathered to share their concerns about police brutality, the proposed extradition law and to call for more democracy. The territory’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has said plans for the extradition law are “dead” – but protesters have continued their action calling for it to be formally withdrawn. So what is the latest update on the Hong Kong protest?
Pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong have reached its tenth week.
After days of disruption at Hong Kong International Airport, the airport has resumed operations after a night of chaos which saw protesters clash with riot police.
Early this morning, flights appeared to be running as scheduled, however, some flights still remained delayed or cancelled.
Hong Kong International Airport said people would be “restrained from attending or participating in any demonstration or protest… in the airport other than in the area designated by the Airport Authority”.
Hong Kong protest today: Why are people rioting across Hong Kong?
What happened at the airport?
Protesters began demonstrating at the airport on Friday and yesterday blocked travellers from using luggage trolleys to build barriers.
Some protesters held signs apologising for the inconvenience caused by the demonstration.
But tensions escalated when one man was set upon by protesters reportedly after it was believed he was in fact an undercover police officer.
Hong Kong protest today: Pro-democracy protesters arrived at the airport on Friday to demonstrate
Riot police later arrived at the airport to manage the protest – with videos emerging on social media of a policeman being attacked with his own truncheon after manhandling a woman.
The protesters’ actions came after Hong Kong police revealed undercover officers were being planted among the anti-government protesters.
Tensions rose as around 20 police officers entered the building and the police claimed to have come to take an injured person to the ambulance.
However, protesters targeted them with laser pointers which forced them to return to their police vehicles.
The Hong Kong government condemned the violence at the airport, saying it would take action against those found responsible.
Hong Kong protest today: Hundreds of people joined the protest after a woman’s eye was hurt by police during the protest
Why are people protesting in Hong Kong?
The protests first started in June after a new extradition bill which proposed to send suspects to mainland China to face trial was announced by the government.
Anti-government protests immediately started in response to the bill which critics claimed would subject citizens to China’s deeply flawed justice system, and would further lead to the erosion of the city’s judicial independence.
Although this particular bill is reportedly “dead”, the protests launched a pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong with protesters seeking an official withdrawal of the bill, less police brutality and a more democratic government system generally.
Hong Kong protest today: The protest escalated yesterday
Hong Kong protest today: A reporter is zip-tied during the protest
In 1997, Hong Kong was returned to China from British governance, under the assumption that there would be a “one country, two systems” operation in place.
This meant there would be one country, China, but two distinct Chinese regions: China and Hong Kong.
This separation enabled Hong Kong to retain its own economic and administrative systems, outside of Chinese rule.
Over the past two months, protesters and riot police have clashed on several occasions.
Hong Kong protest today: Pro-democracy protester first began protesting in June
On Sunday, during a police dispersal action, a female protester was shot in the eye by police with a bean bag projectile.
This incident led to hundreds of additional supporters joining the protest at the airport earlier this week.
Hong Kong’s transportation chief Frank Chan said authorities had asked people to leave promptly due to safety concerns.
He said: “For the safety of airlines, tourists and staff, we call for people at the airport to quickly leave the airport for our staff to continue the operation.
“We can only return to operation after considering tourists’ and staff’s safety.”