HONG KONG – Protesters began to apologize for disruptions at Hong Kong Airport on Wednesday as violence and chaos and a court order threatened to eliminate the transportation hub as one of its most effective venues For demonstrations.
Protests led to the airport, one of the busiest in the world, interrupting check-in this week for two consecutive days, causing hundreds of flight cancellations and striking a mark on Hong Kong's efficiency and economic importance.
The airport said on Wednesday that at 2 pm The demonstrations at the airport began on Friday and remained peaceful for days as the demonstrators presented their arguments to many of the 200,000 passengers who were served daily. Some travelers complained when flights were interrupted on Monday, but others said that the move to protect civil liberties in Hong Kong was more important than their inconvenience.
On Wednesday, protesters seemed to be fully aware of the negative image they had presented. "We apologize for our behavior, but we're just too scared," reads a post on a news channel used by protesters, which was widely used in other social media. "Our police shot us, the government betrayed us, social institutions have failed us. Please help us. "
" Please take our sincere apologies to all travelers, press reporters, paramedics, "read another post. "We will learn from our mistakes. Please give us a second chance to prove to us that we can be better.
The protests – which initiated a suspended plan to allow for deliveries to mainland China, but were expanded to include calls for more direct elections and investigations into the use of police force – were largely leaderless. On a march in June, organizers said up to two million people participated, and thousands continued to participate in almost daily demonstrations.
Not a single voice speaks for all participants. Some advocate nonviolence, while others say that confrontation is necessary because the government has ignored calls from peaceful demonstrators. So far, despite differing beliefs about the best strategies, demonstrators have expressed their general solidarity.
The violence at the airport quickly became publicity in the Chinese mainland state media, which initially ignored the protests. laden with sharp criticism and misinformation about them.
"What a shame for Hong Kong," said People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, in a social media release.
A quote from the beaten reporter, "I Support Hong Kong Police," has become one of the most popular terms on Weibo, a Twitter-like platform. Reporter Fu Guohao is doing fine and he has not been seriously injured, said Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, the nationalist tabloid that hires him.
"It is the greatest disgrace for the demonstrators to treat a reporter like this," Mr. Hu said in a message. "This shows that they have lost their rationality, hatred has confused their thoughts."
A spokesperson of the Hong Kong and Macao Office, the Chinese government agency that deals with the two cities, denounced the violence at the airport on Wednesday in a statement calling it "behavior in the vicinity" to terrorism. "
Some Protesters said recent police tactics, including covert police officers who appear to dress as demonstrators to make arrests, contributed to a sense of fear. "The video of a recent arrest showed police officers wearing a black T-shirt and wore a yellow helmet and dragged the bloody face of a demonstrator onto the sidewalk.
"We hope everyone, including de I also understand the stress, panic, suspicion and unrest in the crowd at the airport since the Hong Kong police admitted to masking a certain number of officials as demonstrators to arrest her. "Claudia Mo, a pro-Democratic lawmaker, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
The Hong Kong Airport Authority claimed to have received a restraining order to prevent disruption of airport operations. It was not clear what immediate impact the order would have on the protests. Similar instructions were given to workers, under the supervision of police officers and bailiffs, to dismantle protest camps during the major demonstrations for democracy held in 2014 in Hong Kong.
On Wednesday morning, several dozen protesters stayed in the airport, sitting in an area for protests. Parts of the arrivals hall were still covered with posters with their messages, which in recent days have focused on complaints about the use of police force.
"We are not rioters, we just love HK too much," it said on a sign.