Hong Kong violence escalates as police and protesters clash in metro stations

Hong Kong violence escalates as police and protesters clash in metro stations

Hong Kong is at a critical juncture after two months of anti-government street protests and the violence there must stop, China's Hong Kong and Macau affairs office says.

Officers in riot gear pursued protesters into subway stations, where they were recorded firing tear gas in enclosed environments and at close range.

A massive traffic jam soon formed on the highway leading back to Hong Kong's city centre.

After years of growing Chinese intervention in the city, many protesters feel that this is their last chance to defend the city's autonomy.

"An eye for an eye" read one call for a protest this afternoon at the city's airport.

They said that they were disillusioned with the inaction of the current administration that has led Hong Kong "into an age of decay".

Hong Kong International Airport said in a statement that the demonstration "seriously disrupted" airport operations.

In addition to the words, an image of Taiwan and one of "Raincoat Man" - honoring Marco Leung (梁凌杰), a Hong Konger who died on June 15 wearing a yellow rain poncho after falling from construction scaffolding in front of Pacific Place in the Admiralty district while hanging protest banners, were displayed.

Protesters, however, said they would continue with such provocative actions, because it was proving effective in rattling the government and wining the support of Hong Kong residents.

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Police said one officer had been injured by a petrol bomb hurled by a protester in Tsim Sha Tsui and that bricks had also been hurled at officers.

"Otherwise we don't know how to tell our kids what is going on in society right now", he said.

The entry of the working class of Hong Kong into the protest movement has not only provoked fears in Beijing but also concerns in Washington and among U.S. allies amid a resurgence of the class struggle internationally.

While many in Hong Kong appear to support the protesters, including ordinary people who have shown up in their hundreds of thousands at peaceful marches this summer, its chief executive, Carrie Lam, has maintained that protesters are largely violent fringe elements who have taken advantage of a civil disobedience movement.

Shares in Cathay Pacific (0293.HK) tanked in Monday trading after the airline bowed to pressure from China to fire staff that protested against a bill that allows authorities in Hong Kong to extradite locals to mainland China.

Hong Kong's airport, one of the world's busiest, has cancelled all remaining flights for the day after thousands of pro-democracy protesters crowded into the main terminal.

"Independence for Hong Kong is not viable in the near term", acknowledged protester Sam, 23, a barrister, while music pumped from cabaret lounges in Wan Chai's bar district behind him, "But we have to fight for our freedoms and democracy".

Protesters were also on their third and final day of a sit-in at the city's airport that was billed as way to explain their movement to sometimes bemused arriving visitors.

Lam, Hong Kong's leader, said on Friday the economy - already buffeted by China's slowing economy and the U.S.