Riot police deployed as Hong Kong protesters target airport

Updated: Sep 08, 2019, 08:44 IST | Agencies

Despite attempts by the government to ease tensions earlier in the week, demonstrations by anti-government protesters continue full throttle

Riot police deployed as Hong Kong protesters target airport
A girl is detained by the police during a protest. Pic/AFP

Riot police fanned out across Hong Kong on Saturday and thwarted plans by pro-democracy protesters to target the airport, days after the city's leader made a surprise concession which was rejected by the movement as too little, too late.

Millions of pro-democracy supporters have taken to Hong Kong's streets for the past three months in the biggest challenge to China's rule since the city's handover from Britain in 1997.

On Wednesday, the city's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam surprised many by announcing she was scrapping a hugely unpopular extradition law that sparked the widespread and sometimes violent rallies.

The withdrawal was one of the protesters' key demands and both she and Beijing had previously refused to budge on the issue. Lam, who was not directly elected but appointed by an overwhelmingly Beijing-friendly committee, portrayed the move as a bid to de-escalate tensions and start a dialogue.

But it has been widely dismissed by protesters as an empty gesture after 14 weeks of clashes. Online messaging forums used by the largely leaderless movement had called for protesters to "stress test" the airport on Saturday afternoon, filling up with suggestions for how to disrupt the road and rail links leading to the terminals.

But a large deployment of police at key bus, ferry and rail terminals across the city appeared to deter protesters from arriving en masse. Tao Tsz Fung, 26, managed to get through the security checks and made it to the airport, along with a few dozen more protesters hanging around outside the terminal.

"There are just too many police around," he said. "But we'll be out again tomorrow." Some train and bus services to the airport were running a more restricted service while police performed multiple stop and searches.

No of arrests made

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