Condemnations hit Hong Kong protesters for airport disruption
Protesters who shut down Hong Kong International Airport over the past two days have come in for sharp condemnations from the usual quarters of Beijing and Hong Kong officials as well as aviation organisations and airlines.
China said the protesters “acted like terrorists” while the country’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office strongly condemned the “almost-terrorism behaviour” of the protesters and called on them to be severely punished. “These atrocities, which are lawless, trampling on human rights and inhumane, have completely gone beyond the bottom line of civil society, and is no different to terrorists,” China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong said in a statement.
Trade group ACI Asia-Pacific, which represents regional airports, said it “expresses our strong condemnation on the recent disruptions to airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport which have deprived passengers the right to travel” and said the demonstrations “rendered significant disruptions to airport operations, including security risks and flight cancellations two days in a row.
“We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at Hong Kong International Airport and Airport Authority Hong Kong. The aviation industry is a close-knit community and together, we stand firm and united in bringing people together, ensuring the safety and security of the travelling public by offering a network of safe and secure airports,” the association said.
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airlines also issued a statement condemning the violent protests, saying it “continues to work with the airport community to ensure the return of normal flight operations as swiftly as possible. We firmly believe that social order and stability must be restored in Hong Kong so that the long-term development and prosperity of our city can again become our priority”.
The airline said the protests “caused severe disruptions to airport operations…leading to the full suspension of check-in services and numerous flight cancellations. Tens of thousands of passengers had their travel plans disrupted as a result, and even more concerning were reports of obstructive behaviour directed towards travellers. We believe such actions are unacceptable. Not only do they seriously harm Hong Kong’s status as an international aviation hub, they also damage the reputation of Hong Kong as a whole”.