In the wake of a day of protest among the most violent since the beginning of the movement, demonstrators erected barricades at the bus terminal.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters were trying, Sunday, September 1, to block access to the Hong Kong airport, the day after a new day of protest, among the most violent since the beginning of the movement. Some fifteen flights have already had to be canceled.
Operators of the Airport Express, the high-speed train connecting the eighth busiest international airport in the world and the center of the former British colony, have announced the suspension of service, without justification. Protesters are theoretically no longer allowed to protest at the airport, under a decree that was passed last month after rallies at its terminals escalated and affected hundreds of flights.
Protesters dressed in black, wearing masks and hiding behind umbrellas to escape camera surveillance, erected barricades at the airport bus terminal.
Outside one of the terminals, protesters stacked baggage carts to form barricades and destroyed surveillance cameras before being chased out by the police. Many of the protesters then moved to Tung Chung town, which passes the only road to the airport. They used pipes to flood the subway station of this locality and also burned a Chinese flag, a gesture likely to provoke the fury of Beijing.
No disruption of flights was immediately reported, but many passengers trapped in the traffic jams caused by these actions were forced to finish off on their way to the airport.
- Chaotic scenes Saturday
Hong Kong has been experiencing its worst political crisis for three months since its return to China in 1997, with almost daily actions to denounce the decline in freedoms and the growing interference of Beijing. On Saturday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets despite the ban on demonstrations. And in the late afternoon, the violence spread to many neighborhoods until late at night.
Protesters burned a huge barricade in the Wanchai district (center), about 100 meters from the police headquarters. The flames burned for more than an hour, and the asphalt of this artery that runs through the district from east to the west still showed Sunday morning the stigma of the fire, while employees were trying to erase the tags constellating the walls.
Chaotic scenes continued throughout the city all evening, police chasing demonstrators into the subway stations. A video shot by a local media shows in particular police forces charging and beating a crowd lurking in a car. We see a man screaming while kneeling, trying to protect a friend, he is sprinkled with pepper spray. The police then leave the train without arresting anyone.
- “A licensed underworld”
The police are concentrating on the head of the Hong Kong executive, Carrie Lam, the anger of the movement. One of the protesters’ demands is the opening of an independent investigation into “police brutality”. “The police is a licensed underworld, with a license to attack and assault,” said pro-democracy MP Kwok Ka-ki at Agence-France-Presse. The government is no different from an autocratic regime. ”
“The security of the police and the population is seriously threatened by this escalation of violence and the increasing use by the demonstrators of deadly weapons,” the police said in a statement. Police said Saturday night they fired two warning shots after being attacked by a group of “violent protesters who even tried to steal police weapons.”
The city’s hospital services announced that 31 people had been admitted for injuries, including five seriously injured. China’s official Chinese news agency has posted a video on Saturday night showing Chinese police doing riot control exercises in Shenzhen.
This Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of Beijing’s refusal to hold universal suffrage elections in Hong Kong. This decision triggered the 2014 “Umbrella Movement”, marked by seventy-nine days of the occupation of the heart of the city. This historic mobilization had ended without any concession on the part of the Chinese central government.