HONG KONG – Protesters kicked off a three-day sit-in at Hong Kong’s airport on Friday.
The latest demonstration aims to raise awareness among international travelers about the political crisis gripping the semiautonomous Chinese city.
Activists gathered at the arrival hall of Hong Kong International Airport on Friday afternoon, holding signs including one which read: “Save Hong Kong from tyranny and police brutality.”
Another said “All you can eat teargas available in 13 districts” in a reference to the police’s frequent deployment of teargas to disperse crowds over the last two weeks.
Hundreds of activists took part in the rally, which was organized by netizens and billed as a “10,000 people greeting travelers rally.”
Demonstrators also held boxes of posters, booklets and stickers explaining to visitors the reasons behind their movement in different languages, including English, Chinese, Spanish and Japanese.
In response to the demonstration, the Airport Authority Hong Kong introduced a new measure stipulating that outbound travelers have to produce their boarding passes or air tickets to be able to go to the check-in counter area.
Those without documents were kept out of the area.
It was the second time protesters took their message to the airport since the start of the anti-extradition movement in June.
The movement was sparked by a controversial extradition bill that would have allowed fugitives to be transferred from Hong Kong to mainland China to stand trial under the latter’s opaque legal system.
The bill was declared “dead” by the government in early July, but the campaign has broadened to an anti-government movement seeking to safeguard freedoms in Hong Kong.
Protesters have been deriding police brutality and the government’s refusal to address their demands, including the establishment of an independent inquiry body to look into police misconduct and a formal withdrawal of the bill.
Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam and business chiefs voiced concerns about the long term impact of the political protests which have rocked the Asian financial hub.
Lam called on citizens to stop taking part in protests and for an end to violence.
“I’m very worried about the situation and that’s why I appeal for calmness and rationality to help us overcome the situation,” she said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
Several leaders from the business sector also spoke at the press meeting, saying the import and export sector and the retail industry have been experiencing a decline in business in recent months.