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Hong Kong’s authorities gave the official response on Monday, condemning the “deranged” acts, and said the actions show that “the first signs of terrorism” had emerged.
Opposition protesters in Hong Kong have occupied the city’s huge international airport, leading to the cancellation of all flights. Authorities are yet to intervene but have warned against increasing violence and ‘signs of terrorism’ by Hong Kong protesters.
On Sunday night, protesters in the wealthy Wan Chai district provoked clashes with police by throwing petrol bombs and bricks. In response, police dispersed the crowd using non-lethal force, however, crowds of protesters regrouped and marched on the airport, and then occupying the space.
Monday morning, authorities evacuated passengers for their own safety, then an hour later, announced that all flights had been canceled.
Yang Guang, a spokesperson for Hong Kong’s authorities gave the official response on Monday, condemning the “deranged” acts, and said the actions show that “the first signs of terrorism” had emerged. It was also announced that the cancellations will last till Tuesday morning.
Hong Kong International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world with 75 million passengers passing through each year.
The Chinese government has condemned western backing of the protests, which have received a cross-party endorsement in Washington. The previous Tuesday, photos emerged of a top U.S. diplomat meeting with senior leaders of the protest movement, raising questions about the extent of western involvement in the unrest.
There had already been protests at the airport on Friday, and confrontations emerged between protesters and residents who opposed the actions. In one recorded incident, one woman, who does not support the protests, attempted to take down a U.S. flag that the protesters had erected, and was attacked in response.
In recordings obtained by Chinese outlet CGTN, she can be heard saying “I don’t understand why every time you people come out to protest you have to bring along British and U.S. flags to support the movement.”
The protests began in rejection of a new law that would mean criminals in Hong Kong could be extradited the mainland if the crime had been committed there.
After initial protests, Chief Executive Carrie Lam withdrew the proposal, though protests continue against what they say is a Hong Kong administration that is too close to Beijing.
The occupation of the airport represents one of the most high profile acts of the anti-China movement, with one of the first flashpoints being in July when protesters occupied the legislative building and raised the British colonial-era flag in place of Hong Kong’s post-decolonization flag.