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HK activists welcome airport arrivals with peaceful rally


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Hong Kong:  Hundreds of protesters staged a demonstration at Hong Kong's airport on Friday intending to draw foreign visitors attention to the growing political crisis that is gripping the special-status Chinese territory.

Travellers flying into the semi-autonomous enclave in the afternoon were treated with the rare sight of a big crowd of black-clad protesters standing or sitting outside the arrival hall at Hong Kong International Airport's Terminal One.

Holding placards and flyers, the demonstrators chanted slogans including "Free Hong Kong", "(Hong Kong Chief Executive) Carrie Lam, step down!" and "Police deliberately break the law". 

The peaceful rally was initiated by a group of airport and airline workers. Local pilots, flight attendants, along with other Hongkongers from all walks of life, were among the participants, Efe news reported. 

No flight disruption was reported by the protest.

The demonstrators repeated five demands that have been voiced persistently by Hong Kong people over the past weeks, as the former British colony is in the throes of a political crisis sparked by a highly controversial extradition bill that critics said would have allowed China to pursue dissidents. 

The demands include complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, the formation of an independent commission of inquiry into the police's alleged excessive use of force in recent protests and immediate implementation of universal suffrage. 

Lam recently announced the scrapping of the extradition bill, but it was not enough to quell the ongoing unrest.

The airport protest was a direct response to violent mob attacks last Sunday when hundreds of white-clad men stormed into a metro station in the northern suburban town of Yuen Long and indiscriminately attacked activists with weapons including wooden batons, canes and iron rods. 

Forty-five people, including a pregnant woman and journalists, were injured and hospitalized. The police were criticized for failing their duty as they apparently took more than an hour to intervene in the incident.

The incident sent shockwaves through Hong Kong. The police deny any links with the attackers, some of whom have been confirmed to be members of local triads or organized crime syndicates that have great influence in Yuen Long.

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News Summary - HK activists welcome airport arrivals with peaceful rally
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