Hong Kong: Flights were departing Hong Kong airport largely on schedule on Wednesday morning, a day after pro-democracy protesters caused chaos with a disruptive sit-in that paralysed the busy transport hub.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Tuesday after demonstrators blockaded two terminals, the second consecutive day the airport has been targeted in the latest escalation of a 10-week political crisis that has gripped the international finance hub. Protesters physically blocked travellers from accessing flights throughout the afternoon, before battling with riot police outside the terminal later that evening and turning on two people they accused of being spies or undercover police.
But by the early hours of Wednesday morning the vast majority of protesters had left the building and flights began taking off on a more regular basis.
The airport’s website showed dozens of flights taking off overnight and listed hundreds more scheduled to depart throughout Wednesday, although many were delayed.
An AFP reporter at departures said check-in desks were operating normally and only a handful of protesters remained, most of them sleeping. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests are a leaderless movement that quickly mobilises large crowds through social media and messaging apps.
Activists turned their attention to the economically vital airport after weeks of huge peaceful rallies — and increasingly violent clashes between hardliners and police — failed to win any concessions from the city’s leaders or Beijing.
Meanwhile, China reacted furiously to “terrorist-like” attacks on its citizens by pro-democracy protesters during a second day of mass disruptions at Hong Kong’s airport that turned violent.
“We express the strongest condemnation of these terrorist-like actions,” said Xu Luying, spokeswoman at the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs of the State Council, who called the two men who were beaten “mainland China compatriots.”
It was the second time this week that China had sought to frame the protests as “terrorism”, part of a pattern of increasingly ominous warnings that have raised fears it may deploy force to quell the unrest....