HK airport reopens amid warnings over pro-democracy protests
China slams HK airport protesters as ‘terrorist-like’
HONG KONG, Aug 14: Hong Kong's airport resumed operations on Wednesday, rescheduling hundreds of flights that had been disrupted over the past two days as protesters clashed with riot police in a deepening crisis in the Chinese-controlled city.
Ten weeks of increasingly violent clashes between police and pro-democracy protesters, angered by a perceived erosion of freedoms, have plunged the Asian financial hub into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
About 30 protesters remained at the airport early on Wednesday while workers scrubbed it clean of blood and debris from overnight. Check-in counters reopened to queues of hundreds of weary travellers who had waited overnight for their flights.
Police condemned violent acts by protesters overnight and said on Wednesday a large group had "harassed and assaulted a visitor and a journalist". Some protesters said they believed one of those men was an undercover Chinese agent and that another was a reporter from China's Global Times newspaper.
Five people were detained in the latest disturbances, police said, bringing the number of those arrested since the protests began in June to more than 600. Operations at the city's international airport were seriously disrupted as riot police used pepper spray to disperse thousands of black-clad protesters.
In Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump said the Chinese government was moving troops to the border with Hong Kong and urged calm.
Trump described events in Hong Kong as tricky but hoped it would work out for everybody, including China, and "for liberty" without anyone getting hurt or killed.
Meanwhile, China reacted furiously on Wednesday to "terrorist-like" attacks on its citizens by pro-democracy protesters during a second day of mass disruptions at Hong Kong's airport that turned violent.
The rallies, which had paralysed one of the world's busiest travel hubs, ended with ugly clashes on Tuesday night that included protesters beating two men.
The Chinese government immediately seized on the attacks to louden its drumbeat of anger and intimidation against the protesters, who have staged 10 weeks of relentless rallies to demand greater freedoms. -REUTERS, AFP