Tuesday, 9 August, 2022
HomeGlobal PulseHong Kong court bans protests at airport after clashes cripple flights

Hong Kong court bans protests at airport after clashes cripple flights

Police were called to Hong Kong International Airport Tuesday after some demonstrators assaulted a man who they claimed was an undercover officer from the Mainland.

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Flights disrupted after clashes break out between riot police and demonstrators

An interim court order has banned protests at Hong Kong International Airport except in two designated areas following clashes between riot police and pro-democracy protestors. Some flights have been able to take off and land Wednesday. The clashes had led to grounding of hundreds of flights Tuesday, causing $7.6 crore in losses to the aviation industry.

Thousands of protestors had flooded the airport Monday to protest what many view as an “unnecessary police force”. On Sunday police fired tear gas inside metro stations, affecting both protesters and passengers. Images of a woman bleeding profusely from her eye after being hit by a beanbag round fired by police had also sparked public outrage.

The police were called to the airport Tuesday after some demonstrators detained and assaulted a man for hours who they claimed was an undercover officer from the Mainland. Demonstrators refused to allow paramedics have access to the man even after he lost consciousness.

When police vans arrived to support the paramedics, protestors attacked their vehicles. Riot police used pepper spray and batons to control protestors. One officer even pulled out his gun on demonstrators.

China intensifies response

Videos of Chinese military trucks being deployed at Shenzhen circulated on social media Tuesday. Shenzhen is the closest mainland city to Hong Kong, just 25 kilometers away.

The military was there for “large-scale exercises” according to Global Times, Chinese state-owned media outlet. But the vehicles belong to a paramilitary police force responsible for riot control and terrorism.

Behind the “Great Firewall”, China’s government has sweeping control over public narrative about Hong Kong. Chinese state-owned media have manipulated footage and rhetoric about the protests, downplaying the widespread public support for demonstrators in Hong Kong and claiming that the woman hit by a beanbag round was actually attacked by a protestor.

Anti-western and nationalist sentiment has proliferated in Chinese social media since the protests started.

US President Trump echoed the Chinese rhetoric, calling the protests “riots”. While several members of his administration and the State Department have released messages of support for the protesters and their pro-democracy values, as well as condemning excessive police violence, Trump has done neither.

His indifference “basically gives a green light to Beijing to do whatever they want,” Thomas Wright, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, told The New York Times. Trump’s comments came on the same day when he delayed further tariffs on Chinese goods in the ongoing trade war.

Also read: Hong Kong protests: China says PLA could be deployed if city-state asks


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