Hong Kong protests: Airport occupied by anti-government demonstrators for second day; more than 300 flights cancelled

South China Morning Post

Hundreds of people have occupied the area around the check-in aisles, while at least 1,000 remain in the arrivals section

South China Morning Post |

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Demonstrators occupied the airport for a second consecutive day, making it difficult for travellers to queue.

Pro-democracy protesters staged a new rally on Tuesday at Hong Kong’s airport, a day after a massive demonstration there triggered a shutdown at the busy international travel hub.

Hundreds of demonstrators were occupying the area around the check-in aisles from about 2.30pm, before they made their way towards departure gates in an escalation of their protest, while at least 1,000 remained in the arrivals section.

By Tuesday evening, all outgoing flights from Hong Kong International Airport had been cancelled, after flights were previously cancelled as part of the fallout from Monday’s chaos. 

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As of noon, the Airport Authority said there were fewer take-offs and landings at the airport as the statutory body worked with airlines to reschedule flights.

It said the airport’s emergency centre had been activated in response to the threat of another public assembly.

The Airport Express, meanwhile, would run at slower 15-minute intervals. Rail operator MTR Corporation said those checking in at Hong Kong or Kowloon stations should do so two hours ahead of their flight time, rather than the usual 90 minutes.

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Only a handful of protesters stayed through the night, and flights resumed at the airport early in the morning. But by afternoon, several hundred demonstrators had returned, responding to a call for a new rally.

Protesters were wearing the signature black of the movement that began in opposition to a bill allowing extradition to mainland China but has morphed into a broader call for democratic freedoms.

Anti-government posters at arrival hall of the Hong Kong International Airport.
Photo: SCMP/Edward Wong

They chanted “Stand with Hong Kong, stand for freedom,” as passengers scrambling to catch rescheduled and delayed flights wheeled their luggage through the airport.

Authorities cancelled all remaining flights into and out of the airport on Monday afternoon after thousands of protesters flooded the building.

Operations resumed early Tuesday morning, but a massive backlog of cancelled flights meant many take-offs were being delayed or cancelled.