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Protesters in Hong Kong succeeded in shutting down transport links to and from the city’s international airport on Sunday, as they targeted the key aviation hub following a night of violent clashes with police.
While most protesters did not get close to the airport terminals — after a court injunction and heavy police presence was put in place following clashes there last month — they succeeded in blocking roads and and prompted the city’s subway operator to suspend its airport service. Photos also showed extreme traffic congestion on a key bridge leading to the airport, with travelers and airport staff forced to get out and walk.
Tung Chung, the nearest town and subway stop to the airport, was flooded with protesters and confused travelers as the sun went down Sunday. Demonstrators retreated from the airport itself in the face of heavy police presence, but not before they succeeded in disrupting every way to and from the terminals, including throwing objects onto rail tracks, halting the Airport Express train.

Inside Tung Chung station, protesters vandalized ticket gates and fittings. Barricades on the streets near the airport were also set alight in front of the police advance. Protesters building a barricade nearby told CNN they were trying to stop police traveling to the airport in order to give others more time to leave.
CNN saw flight attendants run past a burning barricade as they attempted to make it to the airport in time. Hundreds of passengers remain stranded in the terminal itself, with few transport options to get into the city.

Disruptions expected

The city’s transport network had braced for trouble, with local airline Cathay Dragon relocating its check-in counters, and the airport closing some short-term parking. It’s the 13th consecutive weekend of protests in Hong Kong, concluding days of escalation in which a number of activist leaders and lawmakers were arrested, and speculation heightened about China’s strategy toward the city’s pro-democracy movement.

After three months of protest, Hong Kong’s political crisis appears increasingly intractable. Chief Executive Carrie Lam has refused to rule out invoking broad emergency powers, and Reuters reported this week that Beijing had quashed Lam’s proposal to concede to some of the protest movement’s five demands.

The previous day’s protests ended bitterly, with hundreds gathered in anger outside Mong Kok police station. At least 51 people were arrested late that night, with dozens rounded up in Kowloon’s Prince Edward subway station. Graphic video footage showed police swinging batons in the station, landing some blows on individuals already lying on the ground...Continue Reading

By Ian Dei

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