Hong Kong airport grinds to a halt as protests swell

Thousands rally in Hong Kong in fresh protests marchers defy police ban

On Aug. 6, China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office-Beijing's highest agency in the city-accused the protesters as "brazen, violent, and criminal actors", in a press conference.

Hong Kong's airport canceled all flights on Monday, with authorities blaming demonstrators for the disruption of one of the world's busiest terminals, a dramatic escalation of anti-government protests that have roiled the Asian financial hub.

Police fired volleys of tear gas at protesters across the territory on Sunday and staged baton charges in flashpoints in downtown Hong Kong and in working-class districts.

Police stormed a number of underground train stations, firing tear gas and arresting protesters.

"Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted as a result of the public assembly at the airport today", the statement said.

Raab condemned "violent acts by all sides but emphasised the right to peaceful protest", and "underlined that the violence should not cloud the lawful actions of the majority", the United Kingdom foreign office said in a statement.

It was the 10th consecutive weekend that protesters have taken to the streets in a movement that began over opposition to a bill allowing extradition to mainland China.

Police have also reported injuries among their ranks, including eye irritation from laser pointers, burns from petrol bombs and bruises and cuts from flying.

"We believe that the practice was not only an improper and excessive use of force, but also threatened the personal safety of demonstrators and other citizens", Civil Rights Observer said in a Facebook post.

A massive traffic jam soon formed on the highway leading back to Hong Kong's city centre.

A government official said 45 people were injured in the clashes, including two who were in serious condition.

In what has become an established pattern, groups of protesters have taken over streets or besieged government buildings after largely peaceful marches and rallies earlier in the day. If Hong Kong loses this foundation, the assets owned by the Hong Kong people could disappear overnight.

Though the carrier doesn't disclose a breakdown of its mainland China business, flights originating from there and Hong Kong account for about half the firm's revenue. "Hong Kong has reached an inflection point where all those who are concerned about Hong Kong's future must say "no, ' to law breakers and 'no" to those engaged in violence".

The warning follows new regulations imposed by China's aviation regulator requiring Cathay Pacific to submit manifests of staff on flights to the mainland or through its airspace.

"Independence for Hong Kong is not viable in the near term", acknowledged protester Sam, 23, a barrister, while music pumped from cabaret lounges in Wan Chai's bar district behind him, "But we have to fight for our freedoms and democracy".

As the U.S. ramps up its economic war and military build-up in the region against China, Washington is clearly watching the situation in Hong Kong very closely and calculating how to exploit it.

Hong Kong has experienced more than two months of mass protests calling for democratic reforms and an independent enquiry into police conduct, with both the protesters and police adopting ever-more extreme tactics.

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