Hong Kong’s airport reopened today after two days of chaos which saw hundreds of flights cancelled.
China’s Hong Kong liaison officer said today that the protesters were not different to “terrorists” raising fears of a violent crackdown as Chinese troops massed along the border.
The Beijing-based Hong Kong and Macau Affairs office said extremely violent crimes must be severely punished in accordance with the law.
Protesters had occupied the airport for a second night, fighting battles with riot police who tried to eject them.
A few protesters remained at the airport today as workers removed debris and blood from the clashes.
Check-in desks reopened for passengers, some of who had waited overnight for their flights.
Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said it would only allow entry for passengers with a boarding pass valid for the next 24 hours and had obtained an interim court injunction to stop people from obstructing operations. Protesters are only allowed to demonstrate in designated areas.
China’s Hong Kong and Macau office condemned the “near terrorism criminal actions” in Hong Kong.
Police said a large group of protesters had “harassed and assaulted a visitor and a journalist”.
Some protesters had said they believed the man was an undercover Chinese agent, while the journalist was confirmed a reporter from China’s Global Times newspaper.
The protests began in opposition to a now-suspended bill extradition bill that would have allowed the removals of suspects for trial in mainland China but have grown into wider calls for democracy.
Hong Kong’s under-pressure chief executive Carrie Lam has said the city has been pushed into a state of “panic and chaos”.
Demonstrators say they are fighting to protect the “one country, two systems” agreement that promised some autonomy for Hong Kong when it rejoined China from the UK in 1997.
US President Donald Trump said the Chinese government was moving troops towards the border with Hong Kong and urged calm.