Activists gather at Hong Kong airport for 3-day long protest

Activists gather at Hong Kong airport for 3-day long protest”

Protests in Hong Kong started in June this year due to a bill which would have allowed people in the city to be extradited to mainland China.

The weeks of demonstrations pose the biggest threat to Beijing's authority since Hong Kong's handover from Britain in 1997 and mainland authorities have been infuriated.

On Thursday, the United States became the latest country to issue a travel warning for the territory.

On Monday aviation workers joined a strike that gridlocked Hong Kong, forcing airlines, including Cathay, to cancel hundreds of flights.

It was not clear how the ban would be enforced and there was no immediate reaction from Cathay Pacific.

On several occasions, protesters have been attacked by unknown people believed to be linked to organized crime groups, while police took little action to stop them.

Responding to a question on the protests at a press conference earlier this week, Cathay chairman John Slosar said the company respects its staff's opinions.

They have called for an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality during the protests, the complete withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill, and the resignation of Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam.

A Taiwanese bubble tea franchise - Yifang - and a popular Japanese sports drink were also targeted by boycott campaigns.

"No rioters, only tyranny", the demonstrators chanted, with some holding signs reading: "Save Hong Kong from tyranny and police brutality!" read one sign. The branch was later vandalised, Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS reported.

Japanese sports drink Pocari Sweat pulled advertising from Hong Kong television station TVB, which protesters accuse of pro-Beijing coverage.

What happened at the airport?

Authorities are so far tolerating the rally, which have not overly disrupted passengers. There are as yet no police at the scene.

Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration on August 8.

Fake boarding passes saying "HK to freedom" appeared on social media to promote the rally.

China's aviation regulator demanded Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific Airways suspend personnel who have engaged in protests from staffing flights into its airspace from today.

A similar airport protest last month ended peacefully.

Embattled Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam on Friday urged an end to the violence, claiming that the protests are dragging on the city's economy. "We've experienced Sars and financial crises", she told reporters after the meeting, referring to the respiratory disease epidemic in 2003. "This time is more serious".

Protesters were careful to leave a path clear for travellers, some of whom recorded the demonstration on their phones or helped themselves to pamphlets offered by the demonstrators.

"If you are unsatisfied with the Hong Kong government that does not mean you should condone the violence".

"I don't think we should just sort of make concessions in order to silence the violent protesters", Lam said. "China deplores and firmly opposes the remarks", said the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong.

Beijing has issued increasingly stern warnings about the continuing demonstrations, and the military recently released a video showing them conducting anti-riot drills.

Other observers speculated Lau's return is a sign that Hong Kong officials, or their bosses in Beijing, no longer trust Hong Kong's current police leadership to handle the protests - either because they think the police have behaved in an excessive manner and made things worse, or because they doubt the current leadership is prepared to get as rough as Beijing wants them to be.

China dismissed the remark as "gangster logic".

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