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Hong Kong protesters are squeezing access to the airport



Hong Kong – Democratic protesters in Hong Kong launched a new campaign Sunday to narrow access to the airport, hours after one of the busiest days since protests began in the city in June.

Tens of thousands of people marched through parts of downtown on Saturday, despite a police ban. Some protesters gathered around the local power plant, where they fired bricks and fire bombs as police responded with tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons.

On Sunday, protesters began gathering at Hong Kong International Airport in new efforts to block access. to the critical Asian travel center The airport has been outside protesters since mid-August, when visitation days led to attacks on two men from mainland China and hundreds of canceled flights.

As classes begin Monday for many Hong Kong students, schools can become the next front in a protest movement that has started over widespread anger over an extradition bill that will allow criminals to be taken to mainland China . Demonstrators' demands have since grown to include a call for universal suffrage and an investigation into brutal police charges.

[ How protests in Hong Kong are evolving with changing tactics and more violence . ]

Hundreds of protesters began approaching the airport Sunday afternoon, traveling by bus, car and on foot from a nearby metro station. A court order obtained after last month's airport protests only allows passengers and airport staff to bookmark the main terminals. But protesters gathered outside the entrances, chanting “Fight for freedom! Stand with Hong Kong. "Some have used their cars to block traffic.

" We have been protesting and occupying for months, "says 18-year-old Daniel Chan, a college student who got on a bus to the airport protest. "Still, what we did seems useless."

Mr. Chan said he did not intend to do anything illegal, but was not bothered by the court order. "I have almost nothing to fear," he said. "One document can't stop me."

MTR, the Hong Kong subway operator, announced on Sunday afternoon that the Airport Express train service between the airport and the city center had been canceled and trains to the city were later stopped, after protesters threw debris down the runways. Tung Chung Station, the metro station closest to the airport, was also closed Sunday evening as protesters damaged the facilities, MTR said.

Protests forced many passengers to find alternative routes to the airport. Nicol Zhao, 38, was one of many who had to break, avoid and dig their way through barriers that were put in the roads.

Mrs. Zhao, who is from mainland China and working in education, had just landed in Hong Kong from Beijing when he was notified by the airline that he was proposing to delay his trip.

"What the protesters are doing is crazy," she said, "It just shows how different the systems are in Hong Kong and the mainland."

Other travelers were more supportive of the protests.

Eric Jabal, 47, an education consultant, walked with his roll suitcase and a suit jacket on debris. -sharp road avoiding protesters and barricades. He said he left home at 12:30 at 8:50

But Mr Jabal, a Canadian who has lived in Hong Kong for 25 years, said he did not mind the inconvenience.

"I'm really sad," he said. "That the failure of leadership has led to such deep turmoil among so many people – clearly beyond the peak."

Students were a big part of the protests throughout the summer and early Monday raised questions about starting school. would mean a reduction in traffic or whether activism would shift to campuses.

News footage and videos shared on edia's social networks showed members of a police special tactical squad, in dark coated uniforms, breaking into a waiting train car at Prince Edward Station and swinging sticks at men and women descending on floor without resistance. After a violent blow, an officer poured the group into a pepper spray and then left.

"The police got out of control," says Crystal Yip, a 20-year-old college student who was at the station when officers arrived, "They were crazy and they were crazy. They tried to express their anger by attacking people at random. "

Yolanda Yu, senior police chief, said 40 people were arrested at the station on suspicion of unlawful assembly, criminal damage and obstruction of employees.

“Protesters use sticks and solid objects to attack police. We used the same level of force to respond to the situation, "Ms Yu said, responding to a reporter, asking why police used pepper spray for travelers with their knees on the ground.

She said police had warned civilians to stay away. "In chaotic situations, it's really difficult to determine if anyone is a true journalist, protestor or abuser," she says.

The violence at Prince Edward Station began during a dispute between protesters and some of the older men who had offended them. One of the men waved at protesters who threw bottles of water and umbrellas and later appeared to set fire to fire extinguishers in the car. After the collision, the subway system stopped service in much of Hong Kong. Three stations remained closed Sunday.

MTR metro operator has been subject to vandalism since service shutdowns last month to stations in protests. He continued this pattern on Saturday, stopping the Sai Ying Pun point office near the Chinese government liaison office, the site of some protests.

Following the clashes, Chinese information bureaus run by the Communist Party called on the Hong Kong government to take firm steps against the protesters and cited experts, urging Kerry Lam, the city's executive director, to invoke extraordinary powers. Internet marketing, controlled by the Communist Party's Law Enforcement Committee, said Hong Kong protesters were using "terrorist methods."


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