HONG KONG—A large crowd of anti-government demonstrators shut down Hong Kong’s airport and stranded thousands of passengers Monday, as officials in Beijing said they saw emerging signs of terrorism in the city’s increasingly violent protests, reports the Wall Street Journal. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/hong-kong-airport-cancels-flights-as-thousands-converge-11565599227?mod=hp_lead_pos1)
Hong Kong’s airport authority cancelled more than 130 flights Monday afternoon after thousands of demonstrators thronged the arrival and departure halls, joining a sit-in at the terminal that has run since Friday. They gathered to protest what they say was police brutality.
The startling image of a sea of black-clad protestors greeted passengers arriving at one of the world’s busiest transport hubs.
Many of those protesting are critical of the actions of police, who on Sunday were filmed firing tear gas and non-lethal ammunition at close range.
Some protesters wore bandages over their eyes in response to images of a woman bleeding heavily from her eye on Sunday, having reportedly been shot by a police projectile. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-49317975)
The protests are causing other turbulence in the airline industry. (https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/cathay-pacific-shares-plunge-china-warning-protests-190812043731288.html)
Shares plunged in Hong Kong’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific by more than four per cent Monday after Beijing banned airline staff supporting Hong Kong protesters from flights going through the mainland.
Cathay shares lost 4.37 percent to HK dollars 9.85 ($1.26) by the break in Hong Kong, with the carrier’s parent company Swire Pacific Ltd plunging 5.26 percent to HK dollars 77.50 ($9.88).
The nosedive comes as the airline is caught up in pro-democracy protests that have rocked Hong Kong for more than two months.
On Friday, Beijing’s aviation regulator ordered Cathay to submit a list of the identities of staff working on flights to the mainland or passing through its airspace.
It warned any staff members involved in “illegal protests” would be banned from such flights.
Cathay appears to have become a target of Beijing’s ire after some of its crew joined protests and media reported one of its pilots had been charged with rioting.