Hundreds of departing flights were being canceled out of Hong Kong (HKG) airport Tuesday, as a second straight day of pro-democracy protests at one of the world's largest airports forced officials to stop check-ins for flights.
While flights were cleared to land, thousands of protesters occupied the airport's check-in bays, the South China Morning Post reports. Airport regulators announced that only passengers checked in before 4:30 p.m. local time would be able to depart.
The escalating airport demonstrations come a day after protesters first took to Hong Kong International Airport, scrapping more than 12 hours worth of in- and outbound flights. Many inbound flights from across the world were forced to turn around Monday.
DEVELOPING: Day after grounding all flights, anti-government protesters return to Hong Kong International Airport @SCMPNews https://t.co/7u4xxHn2dV
— Emily Tsang (@ETemily) August 13, 2019
Hong Kong is on the global stage as protests that began to block proposed extradition legislation have continued as a demonstration against mainland China's creeping influence over Hong Kong life as well as the police's at-times brutal response to protesters. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, governed separately under the principle of “one country, two systems” that was put in place when Great Britain handed back its longtime colony to China in 1997.
The U.S. Department of State last week issued a Level 2 travel warning for Hong Kong – in line with much of western Europe. A Level 2 warning means travelers should exercise increased caution. The U.S. government is encouraging travelers in Hong Kong to monitor local media and avoid active protests areas.
Hong Kong is among the world's largest airports and the home of Cathay Pacific airlines. And Cathay is taking a toll from the protests: Its stock has dropped to a 10-year low amid pressure from the mainland government to crack down on employees who are involved with protests.
At this point, there's no telling when these airport protests may end.
Lead photo courtesy of Studio Incendo via Flickr