Hong Kong airport cancels all departures

Protesters have also staged three days of sit-ins at Hong Kong airport

Hong Kong's Airport Authority cancelled all flights not yet checked in by Monday afternoon, the agency said, as anti-government protesters peacefully demonstrated at the airport for a fourth day.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. shares tumbled to their lowest levels in a decade as China hit out at the airline after its employees joined anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong.

They said that they were disillusioned with the inaction of the current administration that has led Hong Kong "into an age of decay".

"Hong Kong's radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely risky tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging", said Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.

During the weekend protests, website Hong Kong Free Press showed footage of one arrest that appeared to include officers in plain clothes pinning a demonstrator pressed to the ground.

Officers in riot gear pursued protesters into subway stations, where they were recorded firing tear gas in enclosed environments and at close range.

"Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted as a result of the public assembly at the airport today", it said in a statement.

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Protesters responded on the weekend by hurling bricks and spraying riot police with fire extinguishers and water hoses.

Last week, Canada increased its travel advisory for Hong Kong due to the ongoing protests, advising travellers to exercise "a high degree of caution."

The country has experienced more than two months of mass protests calling for democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into police conduct.

"I fear the government's flat rejections of this is just one more missed opportunity to try to cool things down a bit", pro-democracy lawmaker Fernando Cheung told Reuters after a daytime rally near the financial centre's business district.

Young people have been at the forefront, anxious about the erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong, while also concerned with issues such as wealth disparities in the city.

The long-term stability of the worldwide financial hub is crucial to China's economic well-being, and images of Chinese troops or riot police on the streets would be broadcast and live-streamed around the world.

Authorities have arrested over 600 people since the rallies began in June.

Scantlebury and her brother, Julian, grew up in Hong Kong but study in the United Kingdom and Australia, respectively.

Moreover, the protests themselves have involved a significant proportion of the Hong Kong population and have taken place largely outside of the involvement of the official opposition in the city-the so-called pan-democrat grouping in the Legislative Council.

It would also have a major impact on Beijing's ambitions to reunify the mainland with the democratically-governed island of Taiwan. "What kind of role model is [the Hong Kong leader] showing to our young ones?"

Meanwhile, the city's flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways on August 10 said it suspended one pilot for "rioting", and dismissed two ground staff for leaking travel information for a Hong Kong police soccer team who were due to fly to China.



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