BREAKING: Hong Kong International Airport, swamped by protesters, cancels all outbound flights

Planes on the tarmac of Hong Kong International Airport. Photo via AFP.
Planes on the tarmac of Hong Kong International Airport. Photo via AFP.

Hong Kong International Airport has cancelled nearly all of its outbound flights after thousands of protesters laid siege to the busy hub today to speak out against police’s heavy-handed crackdown on sporadic demonstrations that cropped up across the city yesterday.

The departures page of the airport’s website shows all flights later than 6:15pm are cancelled, though other flights prior to that may also be affected.

Today marked the fourth day of protests at the airport, where demonstrators passed out fliers and held up posters informing new arrivals of the city’s long-running protest movement.

While the previous protests had been planned, today’s was spontaneous, prompted by what many perceived as an intensified police crackdown on protesters on Sunday.

According to the SCMP, flights already in the air will still be allowed to land at HKIA, but those that have yet to take off will be delayed.

Protesters’ anger was compounded by an incident during Sunday’s clashes in which a young woman was shot in the eye with what was believed to be a bean bag round. Images of the injured woman exploded across social and mainstream media, prompting a fresh outpouring of rage at a police force that has been facing accusations of brutality for months now.

By this morning, the woman had already become a new icon of the movement, with prominent dissident artist Badiucao issuing an illustration referring to the incident featuring the face of embattled leader Carrie Lam and the slogan “An eye for an eye.”

Indeed many of the protesters at the airport wore patches over their right eyes and chanting “Black cops, give back the eye!” in reference to the incident.

Updates to come.

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