Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said it was planning to bolster security in anticipation of a three-day sit-in protest at the arrivals hall of its main terminal, just days after dozens of flights were canceled during a city-wide general strike.
Only departing passengers with tickets or boarding passes and valid travel documents will be allowed to enter the check-in area at Terminal 1 until Sunday night in response to a possible demonstration, the authority said in a statement Friday. Security personnel have been deployed to assist passengers and airport staff entering the area, it said.
The sit-in — expected to start later Friday — would kick off the 10th straight weekend of protests across the Asian financial hub, which erupted over opposition to a bill easing extraditions to mainland China and have since widened to include demands for Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation. Violence between protesters and police has escalated in recent weeks, fueling worries that Beijing will send in its army to restore order.
Protesters called for the sit-in in an effort to get their message across to international visitors. Thousands of black-shirted people swarmed the terminal late last month, sitting on the ground for hours, holding signs and chanting “Free Hong Kong! Free Hong Kong!” and other slogans as crowds watched. There were no major flight disruptions.
It’s also the second time in a week that protesters have targeted the city’s transport infrastructure. They moved to shut down Hong Kong on Monday with a general strike and disruptions to a busy morning rush that jammed traffic, left subway lines inoperable and led to the cancellation of dozens of flights. The impact prompted Lam to warn of a “very dangerous situation.”
One company that’s been in focus is Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Hong Kong’s dominant carrier. It came under fire from Chinese state media after some of its employees took part in a general strike on Monday. Later in the week, it said the unrest affected ticket sales in July and is hurting future bookings.
Cathay Pacific said Friday that while it supports the “one Country, two systems” principle under which the former British colony is governed, it doesn’t condone activities that may jeopardize Hong Kong’s stability or impact aviation safety.
“The personal behavior of individual employees does not represent the company’s position,” it said in a statement. “There is zero tolerance to any inappropriate and unprofessional behavior that may affect aviation safety. ”
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