China on Monday slammed violent protesters in Hong Kong who had thrown petrol bombs at police officers and linked them to “terrorism”, as Beijing ramps up its rhetoric against pro-democracy protests in the financial hub.
“Hong Kong’s radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging,” said Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.
“This wantonly tramples on Hong Kong’s rule of law and social order,” he said at a press briefing in Beijing.
Hong Kong airport authorities canceled all remaining departing and arriving flights at the major travel hub on Monday after more than 5,000 protesters entered the arrivals hall to stage a demonstration.
“Other than the departure flights that have completed the check-in process and the arrival flights that are already heading to Hong Kong, all other flights have been canceled for the rest of today,” the airport authority said in a statement.
The decision came after thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators flooded into the airport holding signs reading “Hong Kong is not safe” and “Shame on police.”
“Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted as a result of the public assembly at the airport today,” the statement said.
It warned that traffic to the airport was “very congested” and the facility’s car parks were completely full.
“Members of the public are advised not to come to the airport.”
Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific warned its staff on Monday that they could be fired if they “support or participate in illegal protests”, as the airline comes under pressure from Beijing.
Hong Kong has seen nine weeks of protest with no end in sight. The movement’s demands include the resignation of the city’s leader, democratic elections, the release of those arrested in earlier protests and an investigation into police use of force against the protesters.