Hundreds of protestors converged on Hong Kong International Airport prompting the authorities to shut down the express train from the city center in an attempt to avoid mass disruption. This is the first time that protestors have targeted the airport after ugly scenes in August when demonstrators effectively took over the terminal buildings for two straight days, leading to hundreds of flight cancellations.
Since then, the airport authorities have obtained a court injunction that prevents anyone from taking part in a demonstration at the airport or “wilfully obstructing” its operation. The Hong Kong Police Force has warned protestors that they could be held in contempt of court and have said they “will take action to disperse” the demonstrators.
Unlike in previous demonstrations at the airport, police have been out in force and have taken up positions in the terminal buildings. Protestors have so far been kept out of the terminals but have built barricades around the bus station leading to traffic congestion. With public transport severely disrupted, some demonstrators are even walking to the airport.
Violent demonstrations rocked Hong Kong on Saturday as so-called ‘anti-ELAB’ protests reach a three-month milestone. Protestors are calling for the complete withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, as well as universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into the conduct of the police during the demonstrations.
Hong Kong’s main airline, Cathay Pacific has been dragged into the debate and has been forced by Beijing to take a tough stance against staff who support the protests. Airline workers have been warned not to attend the protests or support the movement on social media by threat of dismissal.
Last week, the leader of the Cathay Dragon flight attendants union was sacked for voicing support for the movement. Several other staffers have also been dismissed and the airline’s chief executive and chief operating officer suddenly resigned last month.