The Airport Authority on Monday said it is virtually shutting down the Hong Kong airport, one of the busiest in the world, as – in a change of tactics – thousands of protesters occupied both the arrival and departure halls of Chek Lap Kok.
Authorities cancelled all departures from the Hong Kong airport just before 4pm on Monday. It also said that, except for flights that are already headed to Hong Kong, incoming flights had been cancelled.
This means the travel plans for tens of thousands of passengers have been affected as Hong Kong airport on average handles around 800 flights a day.
In an announcement, airport officials said protesters have created havoc affecting its operations.
This came as hundreds started occupying the departure area, in a change of tactics, on Monday, bringing operations there to a virtual halt.
Thousands have been staging a sit-in at the arrival hall from Friday afternoon and the 72-hour event was to be over by Monday morning. The event was largely peaceful and many visitors had posted comments on social media about the well-behaved crowd who caused no inconvenience to passengers
But after violent clashes overnight, which saw police adopt tougher tactics leading to many injuries, some protesters called for more to join the sit-in on Monday.
Witnesses at the airport said thousands joined the demonstration there and soon hundreds moved over to the departure hall area. The check-in operations came to a halt soon and most of the shops soon pulled down their shutters.
The chaos was not limited to the arrival and departure halls and witnesses have reported that the roads leading to the airport also have been paralysed with heavy traffic as more protesters were heading in that direction.
Some protesters at the airport covered one eye with masks to show their concern about a girl who was injured during police actions in Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday night.
The Airport Authority had earlier said it will re-arrange flight schedules from 6pm before announcing the cancellations of its departures.
Its statement also warned passengers of heavy traffic and that all its parking lots were full.
Some people going to the airport said some passengers got out of buses after getting stuck on the way and headed to the airport on foot.
Last updated: 2019-08-12 HKT 16:54
HK airport shuts down as protesters take over
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