Protesters in Hong Kong disrupted train services on Tuesday morning amid calls for a city-wide strike on August 5 to press their demands.
Some train passengers dressed in black responded to an online call and prevented train doors from closing at Tiu Keng Leng MTR Station at 7:30am during the morning rush hour.
Train services on the Kwun Tong Line were then suspended. The disruption lasted about one-and-a-half hours and the protesters left Tiu Keng Leng station by 9am.
Soon after 10am, trains between Causeway Bay and Tai Koo stations on the Island Line were suspended.
There was a mixed reaction from commuters affected by the morning disruptions on the various MTR lines. Some passengers were angry and said the protesters should not have taken actions that could harm people’s livelihoods, but others appeared to be more understanding and did not blame the protesters.
The MTR Corporation, which runs Hong Kong’s train system, arranged shuttle buses from Tiu Keng Leng to Kwun Tong and Lam Tin in Kowloon, as well as between North Point and Causeway Bay on Hong Kong island.
The Kwun Tong Line and the Island Line gradually resumed services before noon on Tuesday.
Online rumors said train drivers were also planning to strike on Tuesday morning, but there were no official reports of any such action.
Because the Hong Kong government has offered no resolution to the on-going anti-extradition bill protests and escalating violence involving both the police and protesters, a group of citizens made a proposal on LIHKG, a local Reddit-like message board.
They proposed launching a city-wide strike on Monday, August 5, hoping to push the government to react. Meanwhile, unions and political groups are reportedly planning peaceful protests to press city chief Carrie Lam and her administration into responding to the protesters’ demands.
According to an open letter posted on LIHKG, since one million people marched on June 9, the Hong Kong government has not responded to the demands made by Hongkongers despite a series of signed petitions, marches and rallies.
The Yuen Long attack by white-clad gangsters on civilians on July 21, however, showed the government could not protect its own people, the letter said.
The protesters called for Hongkongers from all walks of life, including those in the transportation, information technology, public services, catering and financial industries, to unite and launch a city-wide strike in the hope of paralyzing the city’s economy and pressing the government to address the problems.
They also called for rallies in seven districts – Shatin, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun and Tai Po in the New Territories as well as Wong Tai Sin and Mong Kok in Kowloon and Admiralty on Hong Kong island – starting at 1pm on Friday.
The Civil Human Rights Front, the group which organized the massive rallies and marches over the past two months, said they would carry on the protests and would coordinate with various parties about their next step.
Since the Yuen Long attack, more Hong Kong citizens have supported the protesters and they want to press the government to solve the problems, a pan-democrat lawmaker said.
Roy Kwong Chun-yu from the Democratic Party said he believed the anti-extradition bill protest was going to enter a third stage, which would involve the majority of Hong Kong people and show their anger with the way the government and police handled the protests.
Pro-democracy labor union the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions said corporates and government should show their respect if strikes take place and they should not blame or punish their staff if they join in the strikes. The union said they were discussing plans with other groups.
Meanwhile, another group of online citizens called for a “visit” to Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, which would follow an 11-hour protest initiated by flight attendants and airport staff last Friday calling on the government to account for the violence used by police and gangsters.
The initiators said this time they would show videos and photos of the alleged excessive force used by Hong Kong police and the Yuen Long attacks to travelers and welcome more Hong Kong citizen to join them.
But they emphasized that the initiative was not a form of protest or a rally and there should be no clashes.
The Airport Authority said they had noticed the call and said no one should hinder normal operations at the airport. The spokesperson said they would coordinate with business partners and government to maintain smooth operations at the airport.