Hong Kong police use tear gas on protesters, airport sit-in marks second day

A planned three-day sit-in at Hong Kong International Airport continued for a second day Saturday, while police used tear gas on protesters at two other locations in the city.

Anti-government protesters set up barricades to block a road Saturday in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been gripped for weeks by mass protests, which began in June 2019 over a now-suspended extradition bill to China and have developed into an anti-government movement. Photo by Chan Long Hei

Thousands of protesters filled the arrivals hall of the main terminal at the airport Friday and Saturday as part of a peaceful protest that is scheduled to continue for a third day Sunday. Officials said the protest has not disrupted the airport’s operations.

The airport demonstrators called for the resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam.

Government officials said police used tear gas to disperse groups of protesters who filled a roundabout in the Tai Wai area of the city, and the gas was used a second time Saturday when protesters allegedly began starting fires outside the police station in Tsim Sha Tsui. The police station was previously vandalized during demonstrations a week earlier, officials said.

The unrest marked the 10th consecutive weekend of protests in Hong Kong. The latest round of demonstrations came days after a citywide strike interrupted airline and train services.

Protests began in Hong Kong following the introduction of a bill that would have allowed extraditions from Hong Kong to China. The bill has been shelved, but the demonstrations are calling for it to be permanently withdrawn.

The protesters have also called for direct elections to be held to choose the city’s leaders and seats in the Hong Kong legislature. They have also demanded investigations into the actions of the police during the demonstrations.

China has accused the protests of being driven by foreign interests. The government has branded the demonstrators “violent radicals.”

ByBen Hooper