Hong Kong police fired tear gas heavily to disperse anti-government protesters on Saturday as demonstrators quickly gathered in other areas in a new day of unrest.
Weeks of increasingly violent protests have pushed Hong Kong into its worst political crisis in decades, posing a major challenge to Beijing’s central government.
Activists on Saturday demonstrated across the city as thousands gathered at the international airport’s arrival hall for the second day in a row, while police in other areas quickly intervened to disperse protesters using tear gas.
Police used tear gas almost without warning after several hundred activists, who marched in Tai Po in the north of the city, intersected in the Tai Wai district.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Friday that the protests, which began in June, were hurting the economy.
Thousands of activists filled the airport terminal for the second day in a row.
The protests began after the government tried to introduce a bill allowing defendants to be sent to China for trial. The government suspended the bill, but that was not enough to calm protesters who are now demanding more democracy and Lam’s resignation.
The central government condemned the protests. China also accuses foreign powers of fomenting unrest. US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagos on Friday described Chinese media reports of a US diplomat who met with leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement as “irresponsible to dangerous” and should Stop it.
Earlier, Ortagos described China’s ruling regime as “bullying” after Chinese authorities published photographs and personal statements about the diplomat.
The United States issued travel advice to its people who want to go to Hong Kong, asking them to be careful while in the area, following street protests over the past month.
Demonstrations in the Asian financial hub have sparked protests over the extradition bill that is currently pending implementation, and it is now responding to a demand for reform of the democratic system.
“Protests and confrontations have now spread to neighborhoods where it was previously prohibited to hold gatherings and marches.
“All of these demonstrations, whether small or no, are expected to continue,” the travel counsel posted on the websites of the United States Consulate in Hong Kong and Macau on Wednesday.
Travel advice was raised to level two on a four-point scale.