Hong Kong Protesters Take Their Cause to Airport Arrivals

A demonstrator holds a banner during a protest against the recent violence in Yuen Long, at Hong Kong airport, Friday. (Reuters/Edgar Su)

Protesters in Hong Kong took their cause Friday to one of the busiest airports in the world.

More than 1,000 demonstrators dressed in black filled the arrival hall at Hong Kong International Airport, where they greeted international visitors with chants of “There are no riots, there’s only tyranny!”

Hong Kong residents have been protesting for more than a month, calling for democratic reforms and the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill in the Chinese territory. Their demands include direct elections, the dissolution of the current legislature, and an investigation into alleged police brutality.

Clashes between protesters and police and other parties have become increasingly violent.

Another march is planned for Saturday in Yuen Long, the neighborhood where a mob of white-clad men brutally attacked people at a rail station last Sunday following a large pro-democracy rally. Dozens were injured. Police refused to give permission for the Saturday event but protesters say they will move forward anyway.

Last Sunday, hundreds of thousands marched through Hong Kong’s busy business and retail districts, after which some protesters vandalized the Liaison Office, which represents China’s Communist Party-ruled central government in Hong Kong. They spray-painted the office’s surveillance cameras and threw eggs and black paint at the Chinese national emblem on the building. That last move incensed mainland authorities who called it an affront to the “one country, two systems” framework through which the Chinese territory is promised certain freedoms not afforded in the mainland.

Ahead of Friday’s action, protesters released a tongue-in-cheek video in the style of an airplane landing announcement.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Hong Kong,” the polished voiceover says. “It is a safety requirement that you remain alert and vigilant at all times because the police will no longer answer your calls when you have any needs.”

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