Clashes erupt at Hong Kong airport as flights disrupted

Police have clashed with pro-democracy protesters at Hong Kong’s international airport after flights were disrupted for a second day amid a deepening political crisis in the financial hub.

The scuffles broke out on Tuesday evening after an injured person was escorted out of the main terminal by medics in order to be taken away in an ambulance.

Several police vehicles were blocked by protesters, and riot police moved in, pushing some protesters back and using pepper spray at times. At least two people were reportedly detained.

Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said operations at the airport had been “seriously disrupted”.

Ten weeks of increasingly violent clashes between police and protesters have roiled the Asian financial hub as thousands of residents chafe at a perceived erosion of freedoms and autonomy under Chinese rule.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged Hong Kong to exercise restraint and investigate evidence of its forces firing tear gas at protesters in ways banned under international law.

“Take a minute to look at our city, our home,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said, her voice cracking, at a news conference in the government headquarters complex, which is fortified behind 6-foot (1.8-m) -high water-filled barricades.

“Can we bear to push it into the abyss and see it smashed to pieces?”

China this week condemned some protesters for using dangerous tools to attack police, calling the clashes “sprouts of terrorism”. They present President Xi Jinping with one of his biggest challenges since he came to power in 2012.

Hong Kong’s stockmarket fell to a seven-month low.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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