REVIEW - Protests In Hong Kong Reach Peak As Demonstrators Disrupt Airport Operations

(@FahadShabbir)

REVIEW - Protests in Hong Kong Reach Peak as Demonstrators Disrupt Airport Operations

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 14th August, 2019) Anti-government mass demonstrations in Hong Kong, which are now entering its 11th week in a row, escalated on Tuesday when protesters staged a new sit-in at Hong Kong International Airport, prompting cancellation of flights.

The protests began more than two months ago after the local legislature opened debates on a bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China. The city's chief executive, Carrie Lam, has since declared the bill "dead." The protesters are demanding that it must be withdrawn completely. Locals also want the city authorities to implement universal suffrage and retract criminal charges against the protesters.

Hong Kong International Airport had to suspend flights on Tuesday after the demonstrators occupied departures and arrivals halls. The administration advised passengers to leave the terminals and contact airlines for flight arrangements.

Even though formally the bill allowing extradition to mainland China was a spark that caused mass demonstrations to erupt, many observers say that there are other deep-seated roots behind the unrest, such as growing social inequality.

Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated territories in the world and an influx of residents from mainland China continues to grow, driving the housing prices to a level that is unaffordable for many people.

At the same time Beijing blames foreign interference for the outbreak of protests. On Thursday, US Department of State spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told reporters that China was acting like a "thuggish" government for releasing personal information of a US diplomat. who met with pro-democracy leaders in Hong Kong.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying advised her US colleague, Morgan Ortagus, on Friday to rethink her statements, instead of trying to conceal the US involvement in the Hong Kong crisis.

In a separate statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged the US diplomatic office to immediately stop meeting with anti-China protesters and stop interfering in Hong Kong's affairs.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on the authorities of Hong Kong to exercise restraint and investigate incidents involving police firing tear gas at protesters, her spokesman Rupert Colville said in a statement on Tuesday.

Maja Kocijancic, the spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy of the European External Action Service, said on Tuesday that all parties to the Hong Kong crisis must reject violence and work to reduce tensions.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned the use of force by both sides of the clashes during the protests in Hong Kong and called on the authorities of the city to engage in a constructive political dialogue, a spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office told reporters on Friday.

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR HONG KONG

Members of the Civil Human Rights Front plan to organize another anti-government rally this weekend, local media reported on Tuesday.

According to RTHK news broadcaster, the next march will begin on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. local time (07:00 GMT) at the Victoria Park and is supposed to be in protest against the police crackdown during previous marches.

At the same time, the United States obtained intelligence data that China was allegedly deploying military forces on the border with Hong Kong, US President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday.

If the information is true, that may be a sign of Beijing's preparations for tougher actions against the protesters.

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