Hong Kong protests: Students explain why they chose to join the sit-in at Hong Kong International Airport

Thousands of people gathered in Terminal 1 to show their anger after a woman was allegedly shot in the eye with a beanbag by police

Joanne MaNicola Chan |

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All outgoing flights from Hong Kong International Airport were cancelled from 4pm onwards today, as anti-extradition bill protesters occupied the main terminal. Some arrivals were also cancelled or delayed. 

Tens of thousands of protesters filled the arrival halls in Terminal 1 to show their anger after a woman was allegedly shot in the eye by a police-fired beanbag gun on August 11.

Among the protesters were many students. 

What happened during the protests on August 11 - a round-up of the clashes in Tsim Sha Tsui, ham Shui Po, Wan Chai and Kwai Chung

One secondary student told Young Post that she was joining the anti-extradition bill protests for the first time.

“[I am here] because I found the police’s use of force on Sunday highly problematic ... They were too violent, which was an inappropriate response to protesters’ actions,” said the 16-year-old student, surnamed Yuen.

Her classmate, Lai, 16, said, “The police shot a protester in the eye … And there were even false news reports claiming the injury was caused by protesters. I found it extremely absurd. There’s no justice in it at all.”

Another group of five students, soon to be entering Form Six, said they had attended the rally for the same reason.

“We are furious. We don’t understand why the government has not only ignored our demands, but also used more severe and violent means to suppress its citizens,” said Lam, 16.

She added that she didn’t want to lose her freedom of speech – a right which those on the mainland do not currently possess.

“We fear that if we lose this battle, we will end up like those in the Xinjiang re-education camps.”

The group said they also planned to go on a school strike in September.

Most of the protesters were dressed in black and wearing black masks. Some had tied a black cloth over one eye.

They chanted slogans including “Our five demands are all indispensable” and “Police shot the girl, an eye for an eye” – a reference to the woman allegedly shot during the protest in Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday.

The incident was broadcast on local media and television. The woman’s right eye appeared to be bleeding profusely. She was tended to by first-aiders and sent to the hospital. According to sources at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the woman’s right eyeball ruptured, and she may lose her eye.

The incident prompted netizens to send out a call at around midnight on Sunday for a rally to be held at the airport today. It comes after three days of peaceful sit-ins at the airport over the weekend.