As Hong Kong braces for another weekend of protests, the airport authority has placed print ads in several local newspapers pleading with the demonstrators not to disrupt the flight plans of thousands of people.
According to Time Magazine protesters have seen how effective they can be in getting the world’s attention by trying to cause chaos at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). Unlike the sit-in demonstration that forced the airport to shut down operations several weeks ago, the demonstrators now plan to target transportation links to and from the airport.
To thwart the attack on the metro and the blocking of roads leading to the airport, the Hong Kong Airport Authority has placed ads which read,
“Spare our passenger’s further disruption; we again strongly urge protesters not to disrupt the journey of tens of thousands of travelers who use our airport every day.”
This latest threat of protests come despite the Hong Kong government announcing on Wednesday that it was withdrawing the controversial extradition bill that sparked this summer’s demonstrations.
Five demands not one less
Now that the citizens of Hong Kong have gotten what they set out to achieve, you would think that that would signal the end of the protests.
Now “Five Demands, Not One Less!” is the chant you hear on the streets. The protesters seek a more democratic Hong Kong and to move the former British colony further away from communist Chinese rule.
Now, in addition to getting rid of the extradition bill, a percentage of Hong Kong’s 7.2 million inhabitants want an independent inquiry into police brutality and democratic elections for Hong Kong’s leaders.
Three months of demonstrations have rocked the city
Over the past three months, more than a million people have taken to the streets to let Beijing know they are a semi-autonomous state, different from the rest of China.
Linguistically different, speaking both Cantonese and English as opposed to Mandarin, Hong Kong even has its own currency, the Hong Kong Dollar, and not the Yuan.
In mainland China, the communist regime monitors the Internet using something people in Hong Kong call “The Great Firewall”. In the island state, the Internet is run without government interference.
The fear within Hong Kong now is that the Chinese government wants to take away some of these freedoms that were promised to them when Britain handed over the colony in 1997.
Beijing has warned it could intervene to stop the demonstrations
Eager to show that they are Hong Kong’s real masters, the authorities in Beijing have denounced the protests and warned that they may have to intervene.
Just this past week, Chinese President Xi Jinping went on record singling out Hong Kong, Macau and the independently ruled island of Taiwan as major threats to the Communist Party. Now, with no apparent end in sight, the 14th consecutive weekend of protests kicked off yesterday afternoon (Friday) with a call to meet at the Prince Edward subway station.
Demonstrators are demanding the Metro Authorities release video footage of the police indiscriminately beating defenseless passengers during last weekend’s protests. Today (Saturday) the call has gone out to once more try and disrupt transportation links to the airport in the hope of forcing flights to be canceled.
While the media campaign pleading with people not to target the airport is one strategy airport managers are not counting on it to stop the protests. In an attempt to keep routes to the airport open the airport authorities announce they have measures in place which are according to Flyer Talk Forum:
“In view of the calls for attempts to block traffic to Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) on 7 September, Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) has been working closely with the airport community and public transport operators to implement special measures tomorrow to ensure the smooth operations of HKIA,” officials said in a release dated September 6th. “Starting from 0900hrs on 7 September until close of service, Airport Express service will not stop at the Kowloon, Tsing Yi, and AsiaWorld-Expo Stations, and all Airport Express trains will only take passengers from Hong Kong Station to the airport. City-bound Airport Express Service will only stop at Hong Kong Station. In-town check-in service at Kowloon Station will also be suspended tomorrow. Meanwhile, services of airport buses may also be adjusted tomorrow, according to operational circumstances.”
While the print ads in the newspaper have pleaded with demonstrators to not target the airport the official statement from the airport carries a much harsher tone.
“The AA reiterates that the High Court has ordered the continuation of the interim injunction order (the Order) obtained by the AA on 13 August 2019 which restrains persons from unlawfully and willfully obstructs or interferes with the proper use of the airport,” officials warned. “The Order covers the entire airport island. Any person who blocks traffic connecting to the airport may also constitute acts of unlawfully and willfully obstructing or interfering with the proper use of the airport.”
If you plan on traveling through Hong Kong Airport today please let us know about your experience in the comments section.