Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong are seeking to disrupt transport routes serving the city’s international airport, as the territory’s months-long political turmoil deepens.
Trains to the airport were suspended and traffic was congested after protesters urged the public to overwhelm road and rail links to the facility on Sunday, a day after the city was rocked by some of the most intense violence in months.
Thousands of demonstrators surrounded entrances to the airport on Sunday afternoon, before dispersing following a police intervention.
“There was no violence. Police did not use batons or tear gas. They simply charged towards the protesters, who dispersed in different directions as a result,” Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke, reporting from the airport, said.
“Nevertheless, the protesters achieved what they wanted at this stage, which is a transport chaos.”
Clarke said the two main entrance points to the airport – road and railway – were both experiencing “major problems”.
Flights were not disrupted, while riot police were present inside the terminals. The airport is covered by an injunction prohibiting protesters from entering in the wake of a shutdown last month which forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights and ended in ugly clashes between police and demonstrators.
Meanwhile, a notice posted at train stations by the Mass Transit Railway operator said services had been suspended, a move “requested by the Hong Kong Government and Airport Authority to facilitate access control arrangements at the airport.”
The protest movement was triggered in June by a proposed bill that would have allowed extraditions of suspects to mainland China.
The draft law has since been shelved but the protests have continued amid concerns Beijing was planning to erode the autonomy granted to the city when it was handed back to China from Britain in 1997. The demonstrators’ five main demands include the right to elect officials and the resignation of Beijing-backed Chief Executive Carrie Lam.