Protesters were planning to stop transport links to Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday afternoon, a day after police used water cannon and tear gas against demonstrators who replied with hurled petrol bombs and bricks.
Hundreds of anti-extradition protesters gathered on a road near the bus terminal at Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday afternoon and tried to cut transport links with the city.
By 4.44pm on Sunday, the Airport Authority announced that Airport Express services from the airport to Hong Kong station were suspended after people intruded into the railway area.
Many air passengers found themselves starting their journeys with a lengthy walk as protests brought all other routes to the airport to a standstill.
Government website RTHK reported passengers were seen pushing suitcases along the street as protesters blocked key roads approaching Chek Lap Kok. Airport Express services were suspended for most of the afternoon and some buses stopped running as protesters built barricades at the airport bus terminal. Roads to the airport were highly congested even before the blockades started.
That forced many passengers to make their own way to the airport from Tung Chung.
Earlier in the afternoon, protesters wearing masks and helmets arrived at the airport bus terminal. Some blocked the road with trolleys and metal barricades.
The protesters were calling on the government to address their five demands – the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, the withdrawal of “riot” charges laid against people who took part in protests on June 12, the establishment of an independent probe into events during the three months of protests, the release of all arrested protesters and the implementation of universal suffrage.
At 1:30pm on Sunday, MTR Corp announced that the Airport Express train from Hong Kong station to the AsiaWord-Expo station would be suspended at the request of the Airport Authority and the Hong Kong government. It said services from the AsiaWord-Expo station to Hong Kong station would continue, which meant that people could leave the airport and go to urban districts, but no one could travel from the city center to the airport.
Train services were later suspended. Protesters also threw objects onto the tracks of the Airport Express. Trains to the airport had already been suspended for much of the afternoon, but return services into the city were also canceled at about 4.30pm.
At 1:51pm, a large number of riot police arrived at terminal one at the airport. At 2:05pm, a member of the Airport Authority staff read a court junction to the protesters, urging them to leave immediately as they were holding an illegal assembly.
By about 3pm, the protesters numbered more than 1,000 and they blocked road traffic in and out of the airport. A bailiff arrived at 3pm, but could do nothing. Riot police had not taken any action by 4pm.
Between August 9 and 13, tens of thousands of anti-extradition bill protesters staged a five-day occupation at Hong Kong International Airport. More than 500 flights were canceled due to the incident.
On August 14, airport authorities were granted a court junction to bar the protesters from gathering there. On August 24, it applied to extend the court junction. Only a few protesters showed up in a proposed airport occupation campaign called “Stuck with you” on August 24 as they went to join another protest in Kwun Tong in Kowloon.
Over the past week, people went online to call for an airport occupation campaign starting at 1pm on Sunday.
They said it will be a peaceful sit-in protest to urge the Hong Kong government to meet the five demands of the anti-extradition protesters.
On August 30, the Airport Authority published an advertisement in local newspapers to call for the protesters not to block the traffic at the international airport.
According to the advertisement, the HKAA said anyone who incited others to stop the transportation connecting the airport with the urban districts would have violated the court injunction that forbids people from doing so. The authority urged the public not to disrupt the airport.
It said if the airport was disrupted again, the significant decline in passenger and cargo traffic would hurt Hong Kong’s economy and different sectors. It also reminded passengers to take more time for their journeys to the airport due to a possible protest near the airport on Sunday and protests in many other districts on September 2 and 3.