Tuesday, 13 August 2019

PROTESTERS CLASH WITH POLICE AGAIN IN HONG KONG

Police have clashed with pro-democracy protesters at Hong Kong's international airport after flights were disrupted for a second day running amid a deepening political crisis in the financial hub following weeks of mass demonstrations.

protesters are pepper sprayed

A mostly peaceful sit-in on Tuesday that saw thousands of black-clad protesters jamming the main terminal - some chanting, singing and waving banners - erupted into violence in the evening, with riot police firing pepper spray and using batons after demonstrators seized a man they claimed was an undercover mainland Chinese agent.

The scuffles broke out after police appeared at the departures entrance in an apparent attempt to help paramedics reach the man, who was injured. Several police vehicles were blocked by protesters and riot police moved in, pushing some protesters back and using pepper spray. At one point, a police officer pulled out a gun.

Protesters also barricaded some passageways in the airport with luggage trolleys, metal barriers and other objects. At least two protesters were taken away by police.

Separately, a reporter for the Global Times newspaper, a Communist Party mouthpiece which has sharply criticised the demonstrations, was also held by protesters. Footage showed the reporter's hands being tied to a luggage car.

"GT reporter Fu Guohao has been rescued by police and sent to the hospital. We're still learning about his injury conditions", Hu Xijin, the newspaper's editor-in-chief, later said in a tweet.

The protest on Tuesday prompted the cancellation of hundreds of flights for a second consecutive day, with Hong Kong's Airport Authority said operations at the airport had been "seriously disrupted" and that departing passengers had been unable to reach immigration counters.

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from the airport later on Tuesday, said calm had returned following the departure of most protesters from the site.

"We've seen some of the employees come back to their counters, and some of the stranded passengers trying to figure out when they will be able to catch their flights," she said. "It's not clear whether the protesters will come back tomorrow."

Meanwhile, citing United States intelligence, President Donald Trump said later on Tuesday that China's government was moving troops to its border with Hong Kong.

It was not immediately clear if Trump, who also urged calm between protesters and the authorities, was reporting fresh movements or movements near the border already reported in the media.

"Our intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!" he tweeted. Aljazeera

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