Flights resume at Hong Kong airport after closure
Flights resumed at Hong Kong airport on Tuesday morning after large-scale anti-government protests forced the closure of the hub the previous day amid calls from Canada and Australia for a de-escalation of tensions.
Hong Kong International Airport said it would “implement flight rescheduling” following the disruption on Monday after demonstrators flooded the Asian financial hub’s airport to protest alleged police use of force against protesters over the weekend.
Flights had arrived from Bahrain, Boston and Sydney before 6am Hong Kong time, according to the airport’s website. However, Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific’s website showed around 80 cancellations for flights to destinations in Asia for Tuesday and warned passengers to check before travelling to the airport.
The protest on Monday followed three days of sit-ins at the arrivals area on the tenth weekend of anti-government demonstrations in the city, but it was the first to spark cancellations. Protesters left the airport, which is the world’s third-busiest in terms of passenger traffic, on Monday evening amid fears of a police clearance.
The airport protest took place as Beijing issued a warning that demonstrations in the city had begun “showing early signs of terrorism”. Initially prompted by a bill that would have allowed extradition to China for the first time, the anti-government protests have plunged Hong Kong into its worst political crisis since its handover from Britain to China in 1997.
Hong Kong police on Monday admitted using tear gas in a metro station, but denied they had used excessive force against protesters.
The latest protests triggered calls from international leaders for dialogue. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said his government was “extremely concerned” about the situation in Hong Kong. “We see the need for de-escalation of tensions, we need to see the local authorities listening to the very serious concerns brought forward by Chinese citizens,” Mr Trudeau said in Toronto.
“We certainly call for China to be very careful and very respectful in how it deals with people who have legitimate concerns in Hong Kong,” he said.
Separately, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for a de-escalation and for Hong Kong’s chief executive to “work towards a peaceful and calm resolution of what is a very, very serious issue,” Australian media reported.