Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong made their way into both terminals at the city’s international airport today. That caused one of the busiest travel hubs in the world to shut down and cancel all flights Monday. Nearly 200 flights coming in and out of the city were canceled, and the normally calm and orderly airport descended into chaos. In the early evening, the airport was filled with confused and frustrated travelers who weren’t sure if their flights had been canceled or not.
Thousands of protesters in the airport arrival hall warned arriving travelers, “Don’t trust the police,” and held up images of bloody clashes between protesters and riot police. Some shouted, “Turn back,” while others apologized for the inconvenience.
“Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted … all flights have been canceled,” the city’s airport authority said in a statement. “All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible.”
Hong Kong’s airport, now largely empty of protesters hours after hundreds of flights were cancelled, is plastered with posters, flyers, and drawings.
The demonstrations began in opposition to a bill allowing extradition to the mainland but have widened to highlight other grievances. Since then, the United States and other countries have issued travel warnings for people planning to visit the region. Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement that has provided some autonomy for Hong Kong since China took it back from Britain in 1997.