Riot police move in to try to shut down protest at Hong Kong Airport

Hong Kong: Protesters clashed with police at Hong Kong's international airport on Tuesday evening after flights were disrupted for a second day, plunging the former British colony deeper into turmoil.

The scuffles broke out in the evening between police and protesters, after an injured person was taken out of the main terminal by medics.

Several police vehicles were blocked by protesters, and riot police moved in, pushing some protesters back and using pepper spray at times.

Protesters also barricaded some passageways in the airport with luggage trolleys and other objects.

Hong Kong's Airport Authority said operations at the airport had been "seriously disrupted".

Protesters had severely crippled operations at Hong Kong's international airport for a second day on Tuesday, forcing authorities to cancel all remaining flights out of the city after demonstrators took over the terminals as part of their push for democratic reforms.

After a brief respite early on Tuesday during which flights were able to take off and land, the airport authority announced check-in services for departing flights were suspended as of 4.30pm local time. Other departing flights that had completed the process would continue to operate.



Qantas flights to Hong Kong were among those cancelled. The airline said on its website it would contact affected passengers directly by SMS or email.

The Australian government's Smartraveller website said the "intensified protests" at the airport resulted in significant disruption, including the cancellation of flights.

Hong Kong's stockmarket fell to a seven-month low.

Ten weeks of increasingly violent clashes between police and protesters have roiled the Asian financial hub as thousands of residents chafe at a perceived erosion of freedoms and autonomy under Chinese rule.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged Hong Kong to exercise restraint and investigate evidence of its forces firing tear gas at protesters in ways banned under international law.

"Take a minute to look at our city, our home," Chief Executive Carrie Lam said, her voice cracking, at a news conference in the government headquarters complex, which is fortified behind 1.8-metre-high water-filled barricades.

"Can we bear to push it into the abyss and see it smashed to pieces?"

China this week condemned some protesters for using dangerous tools to attack police, calling the clashes "sprouts of terrorism". They present President Xi Jinping with one of his biggest challenges since he came to power in 2012.

More to come

Reuters

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