Chaos erupted in Hong Kong International Airport late Tuesday as riot police barrelled through the masses of hundreds of protesters demanding freedom from China.
CNN International reported, following the police operation that reporters witnessed at least four arrests and that officers appeared to be targeting specific people. To get through the protesters, police used pepper spray and batons to push back the crowd. According to an official statement from Hong Kong police, airport officials requested that the riot officers enter the airport to rescue a man who protesters had apprehended and accused of being an undercover police officer. The South China Morning Post also reported that the airport received a court injunction requesting police remove the protesters from the premises, though Hong Kong police did not issue an official statement to that effect and officers left without clearing out every protester.
Pro-democracy protesters shut down the airport Tuesday for the second day in a row, forcing administrators to cancel all flights, in a bid to get the China-controlled Hong Kong government to listen to their demands. Some protesters appeared to panic and target others suspected of working for the communist government after officials admitted this weekend that officers had dressed up as protesters to infiltrate the marches.
Protesters have firmly listed five demands intended to make Hong Kong’s governance more democratic and free from Chinese Communist Party influence.
Police reportedly entered the Hong Kong airport around 11 p.m. local time after protesters had successfully grounded all flights for the day, fully armed and stating they were present to remove a man who had suffered injuries after protesters accused him of being a government agent. The man, whose identity remains unknown, was tied up and beaten for allegedly entering the crowds with the intent to disrupt the protests. Protesters initially refused to let paramedics take him away after detaining him for three hours, according to eyewitnesses.
Exceptional the human dimension of #HongKong’s doctors and nurses that during their rest time help the demonstrators with first aid. #HongKongProtesters #China #Democracy #Shenzhen #HongKongAirport pic.twitter.com/v8sW42FZYQ
— Alexandre Krauss (@AlexandreKrausz) August 13, 2019
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 13, 2019
“After arriving at the scene, police used pepper spray to push back hostile crowds. One officer pulled out his service revolver and pointed it at protesters. Several demonstrators were arrested in the ensuing scuffle,” the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported.
Sky News reporter Stuart Ramsay, reporting live from the scene, described the police entry into the airport as “absolutely ferocious,” leaving many to believe that the police had entered to remove all the protesters violently.
As police fought off protesters, a group of protesters surrounded a second man who they accused of being a Communist Party agent. The Global Times, a Chinese communist propaganda outlet, later identified the man as a journalist with the newspaper, Fu Guohao. Fu’s byline indeed appears on the Global Times‘s pages, though in few articles, all recent reports casting a negative light on the anti-China protests. When searching his bag, protesters found Fu’s journalist identification card and a t-shirt reading “I [heart]HK Police.”