Protests disrupt Hong Kong airport for second day

UN urges restraint over protests

Flights leaving Hong Kong were disrupted for a second day on Tuesday, plunging the former British colony deeper into turmoil as it’s stock market fell to a seven-month low, and its leader said it had been pushed into a state of “panic and chaos”.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also urged Hong Kong to exercise restraint and investigate evidence of its forces firing tear gas at protesters in ways banned under international law.

According to Reuters, ten weeks of increasingly violent clashes between police and protesters have roiled the Asian financial hub as thousands of residents chafe at a perceived erosion of freedoms and autonomy under Chinese rule.

China this week condemned some protesters for using dangerous tools to attack police, calling the clashes “sprouts of terrorism”. They present President Xi Jinping with one of his biggest challenges since he came to power in 2012.

Hong Kong legal experts say Beijing might be paving the way to use anti-terror laws to try to quell the demonstrations.

Check-in operations were suspended at 4:30 pm on Tuesday, a day after an unprecedented airport shutdown, as thousands of black-clad protesters jammed the terminal, chanting, singing and waving banners.

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“Can we bear to push it into the abyss and see it smashed to pieces?”

The protests began as opposition to a now-suspended bill that would have allowed suspects’ extradition to mainland China, but have swelled into wider calls for democracy.

At the airport, thousands of protesters gathered in the arrivals hall, as well as some parts of departures, using luggage trolleys to blockade the doors to customs checkpoints.

Floors and walls were covered with missives penned by activists and other artwork. The scene was peaceful as knots of protesters spoke to travelers, explaining their aims.

“Sorry for the inconvenience, we are fighting for the future of our home,” read one protest banner at the airport.

“I think paralyzing the airport will be effective in forcing Carrie Lam to respond to us it can further pressure Hong Kong’s economy,” said Dorothy Cheng, 17.

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement that enshrined some autonomy for Hong Kong since China took it back from Britain in 1997.

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