Hong Kong Airport Suspends Check-Ins in 2nd Day of Disruptive Protests

HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s airport suspended check-ins for a second straight day on Tuesday as protesters again disrupted its operations, hours after the city’s embattled leader pleaded for order amid escalating chaos.

Thousands of antigovernment demonstrators occupied parts of Hong Kong International Airport’s departures and arrivals halls on Tuesday afternoon, with some using luggage trolleys to block travelers from reaching their departure gates. The Hong Kong Airport Authority later closed check-in services and advised all passengers to leave as soon as possible.

It was the second day in a row that demonstrators had seriously disrupted operations at the airport, one of the world’s busiest, and another sign that the two-month-old protest movement is turning to increasingly desperate measures, amid threats from Beijing and the refusal of Hong Kong’s unpopular chief executive, Carrie Lam, to meet their demands.

“It’s an escalation of a nonviolent movement,” said Dorothy Wong, 55, a protester who works in real estate. She added, “The economy of scale has to be huge in order to rock the government.”

As of Tuesday night, arriving flights were still scheduled, along with some departures, apparently for passengers who had managed to clear immigration before check-in closed. But Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong’s flag carrier, told its customers to postpone “nonessential travel” out of the city for the rest of the day and on Wednesday.

The wave of protests began in early June, in opposition to legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the courts are controlled by the Communist Party.

Maisa Sodebayashi, a Brazilian who works in a car factory in Japan, said on Monday afternoon that she had been stranded in the airport for about 24 hours and counting, after landing there on a connecting flight to Rio de Janeiro.

Ms. Sodebayashi, 32, said that while she understood the protesters were fighting for democracy, she also wanted to go home.

“Honestly, I don’t know what to do,” she said, standing beside a customer service desk.

Source link Breaking News

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