The demonstrations in Hong Kong over the controversial extradition bill are now in 10th tenth week. As The New York Times reports, over 150 flights at Hong Kong International Airport were canceled Monday after thousands of peaceful demonstrators occupied terminals.
In a statement, the airport revealed that roughly 150 departures have been canceled, while 12 inbound flights have also been affected. The latest demonstrations at the airport, which is also a common connecting flight destination, is in response to the violent police response to peaceful protests in Hong Kong. The idea to occupy the airport was raise after police continued to fire tear gas at protestors, resulting in numerous injuries.
The protests first began back in June, with demonstrators opposing a bill that would allow citizens to be extradited to mainland China. While Hong Kong is internationally recognized as China, the ruling Communist Party does not have complete control over the state. As of right now the bill has been suspended as the protests continue, but it has not yet been withdrawn completely. A strong antigovernment sentiment has been fostered by Hong Kong's population as police continue to crack down on the protests.
Protestors first gathered at the airport on Friday in smaller numbers, handing out pamphlets explaining the situation to travelers. However, services weren't disrupted until Monday. The BBC reports that rumors have circulated saying authorities are planning to move in on the protestors Monday evening. Government officials in Beijing have condemned the protestors, asserting that they had used a gasoline bomb that injured officers on Sunday.
"Hong Kong’s radical demonstrators have repeatedly attacked police officers with extremely dangerous means," Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office spokesman Yang Guang said. "These have already constituted serious violent crimes and have begun to show signs of terrorism." However, Hong Kong senior police superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah has disputed the "terrorism" label, explaining that they "are not at that stage yet."
Authorities in the mainland recently moved several armored carriers and trucks to Shenzhen, a city close to the border between China and Hong Kong. It has been estimated that roughly two million protestors have been involved in the demonstrations since they first began a few months ago. Police have continually been criticized for their use of tear gas in an enclosed area.