Hong Kong airport protesters retreat, but city in turmoil

Hong Kong Airport Cancels All Departures As Protesters Squat Inside

Hong Kong Airport Cancels All Departures As Protesters Squat Inside

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, in a statement issued on Wednesday, also strongly condemned attacks against a reporter from one of China's largest government-backed newspapers and a traveller at the airport by what it said were violent protesters.

The protests represent one of the biggest challenges for Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

But two days of protests at the airport have again raised the stakes for the financial hub.

Dozens of riot police and pro-democracy protesters clashed at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday night, after flights were disrupted for a second day in a row.

China regularly maintains a troop presence near the Hong Kong border.

Hong Kong law permits life imprisonment for those who commit violent acts or acts that might interfere with flight safety at an airport.

"It is possible that the airport authority will cancel more flights as they need to control the air traffic movements at the Hong Kong International Airport", he said.

After initially just voicing their demands with peaceful demonstrations, the protesters adopted more aggressive tactics yesterday and created barricades with luggage trolleys to block passengers at the departure halls. A front-page commentary on the overseas edition of the Communist Party's official People's Daily newspaper said on Wednesday Hong Kong had reached a critical juncture.

When Beijing said this week that it saw the "first signs of terrorism" among Hong Kong's young pro-democracy protesters, it marked an ominous step in a progression of escalating rhetoric.

A small group of protesters also surrounded, tied up and beat a man wearing a yellow journalist vest - whom the editor of China's state-controlled Global Times identified as one of the paper's reporters - and another man Beijing said was a Shenzhen resident visiting Hong Kong.

Mr Trump on Tuesday said his intelligence had confirmed Chinese troops were gathering across the border.

It was not immediately clear whether Trump was reporting fresh troop movements or movements near the border already reported in the media.

As Hong Kong's political crisis deepens, China denied a request for two U.S. Navy warships to visit Hong Kong in the coming weeks, officials said.

On Monday, Pelosi tweeted, "It is alarming to watch the #HongKong police with support from Beijing intensify their use of force against the protesters and label them violent criminals".

On Tuesday morning, the city's leader, Carrie Lam, gave an at-times emotional press conference in which she warned of risky consequences if escalating violence was not curbed.

"Extreme political ideas have found frequent expression in Hong Kong, with some even raising "Hong Kong independence" slogans recently". It said the meeting took place in NY but did not elaborate.

While Hong Kong's crucial travel industry suffers major losses, the city's reputation as a well-regulated centre for finance is also taking a hit. Such posts were the most-discussed topics on China's social media platforms on Wednesday.

In a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, the president observed: "Many are blaming me, and the United States, for the problems going on in Hong Kong".

"Hong Kong's radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely risky tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging", said Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.

Images on the internet showed armoured personnel carriers belonging to the People's Armed Police driving in a convoy Monday toward the site of the exercises.

Earlier this week, the central government in Beijing issued an ominous characterisation of the protest movement as something approaching "terrorism" a label it routinely applies to nonviolent protests of government policies on the environment or in minority regions such as Xinjiang and Tibet.

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