Hong Kong airport news: Flights resume after violent clashes between demonstrators and riot police

Sean Morrison

Flights have resumed at Hong Kong’s airport after two days of disruption marked by violent clashes between pro-democracy protesters and riot police.

The airport, one of the world’s busiest transport hubs, had closed check-in for remaining flights on Tuesday afternoon as demonstrators swarmed the terminal and blocked access to immigration for departing passengers.

About three dozen protesters remained camped in the airport's arrivals area on Wednesday morning but check-in counters were open and flights appeared to be operating normally.

It comes a day after a mass demonstration and frenzied mob violence forced more than 100 flight cancelations.

Police clash with anti-government protesters at the airport in Hong Kong (REUTERS)

Most of the protesters left after officers armed with pepper spray and swinging batons tried to enter the terminal, clashing with demonstrators who barricaded entrances with luggage carts.

Police have acknowledged using "decoy" officers, and some protesters over the weekend were seen being arrested by men dressed like demonstrators in black and wearing face masks.

Hong Kong police said they arrested five people for unlawful assembly, assaulting police officers and possessing weapons.

Riot police use pepper spray and swung batons to disperse anti-extradition bill protesters. (REUTERS)

The airport disruptions escalated a summer of demonstrations aimed at what many Hong Kong residents see as an increasing erosion of the freedoms they were promised in 1997 when Communist Party-ruled mainland China took over what had been a British colony.

The demonstrators are demanding Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam step down and scrap proposed legislation under which some suspects could be sent to mainland China, where critics say they could face torture and unfair or politically charged trials.

Ms Lam has rejected calls for dialogue, saying on Tuesday the protesters were threatening to push their home into an "abyss."

"Take a minute to think, look at our city, our home - do you all really want to see it pushed into an abyss?" she said, at times appearing close to tears, according to the BBC.

The protests began in response to a proposed extradition bill, which has now been suspended, but have evolved into a more demanding pro-democracy movement.

Riot police disperse anti-extradition bill protesters during a mass demonstration (REUTERS)

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the situation in Hong Kong was tricky, but he hoped it would work out for everybody, including China, and "for liberty" without anyone getting hurt or killed.

"The Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation - very tough," Mr Trump told reporters during a visit to Morristown, New Jersey. "We'll see what happens."

He added: "It's a very tricky situation. I think it will work out and I hope it works out, for liberty. I hope it works out for everybody, including China. I hope it works out peacefully. I hope nobody gets hurt. I hope nobody gets killed."

Agencies contributed to this report