For a second consecutive day, thousands of demonstrators flooded Hong Kong’s international airport, on Tuesday, Aug. 13, causing pandemonium and bringing the airport to a standstill.
Riot police had rushed into the airport late on Monday evening, clashing violently with protesters. In many cases, police used batons to batter protesters into submission and make arrests, even as protesters scrambled in an effort to get away.
A brief respite from Monday evening’s chaos allowed some of Tuesday’s earlier morning flights to depart. However, Tuesday’s protests caused the majority of the day’s flights to be canceled. Teams of police returned by midmorning, on Tuesday, again leading to tense standoffs and some clashes within the airport.
Subway lines in and around the city have been filled with tear gas fumes, as police have tried to limit the flow of protesters to the airport and the city’s center.
Hong Kong’s citywide protests, which began on June 9 and originally arose in response to a recently proposed extradition agreement with China, are now being characterized more broadly as “pro-democracy” demonstrations, by both the Hong Kong demonstrators and by Chinese authorities in Beijing.
The daily turmoil has reportedly started to take a toll on the city’s economy, with both businesses and individuals starting to make plans to leave the area, if need be, in the near future.
This week, Chinese communist authorities on the mainland have issued stern statements to condemn the ongoing protests. A Chinese ministry representative, on Monday, compared protesters to “terrorists” and vowed, “Such violent crimes must be resolutely cracked down on in accordance with the law. No leniency, no mercy.”
On China’s mainland, military vehicles have been filmed moving army personnel toward the Hong Kong border. “People’s Liberation Army” soldiers, stationed within Hong Kong, have also been seen performing riot-control drills.
Despite the threats, however, China’s military has not intervened in demonstrations, to date.