Hong Kong braces for major disruptions to business as general strike threatens to paralyse parts of the Asian financial centre, with more than 100 flights already cancelled.
Peak-hour morning train travel and international flights in Hong Kong were thrown into chaos on Monday as pro-democracy protesters launched an attempted city-wide strike to ramp up pressure on the financial hub’s embattled leaders.
Activists descended on key subway stations during the morning rush hour, deliberately keeping open doors to stop trains departing, causing long queues and triggering occasional scuffles between angry commuters and protesters.
More than 100 flights at the city’s airport –– one of the world’s busiest –– were also listed as cancelled on Monday morning after aviation authorities warned passengers about potential disruptions.
While some commuters were angered by the morning transport chaos, others said they supported the action after more than two months of extraordinary protests aimed at securing democratic freedoms.
“As long as the government doesn’t respond then for sure the movement will escalate,” a civil servant, who gave his surname as Leung, told AFP news agency as he tried to make his way to work.
The city’s embattled pro-Beijing leader struck a defiant tone on Monday as strikes and travel chaos hit the city, condemning pro-democracy protesters for pushing the finance hub to a “very dangerous situation” with their weeks of rallies.
“Such extensive disruptions in the name of certain demands or uncooperative movement has seriously undermined Hong Kong’s law and order and are pushing our city, the city that we all love and many of us helped to build, to the verge of a very dangerous situation,” chief executive Carrie Lam told reporters.