Hong Kong (AFP)
Protesters who flocked Monday to Hong Kong airport quickly flooded the arrivals hall of black, the color of the pro-democracy movement that shakes the former British colony retroceded in 1997 to China.
Travelers arriving at the airport have been greeted by thousands of pro-democracy activists chanting "Fight with Hong Kong, fight for freedom!"
Most of the protesters wore black clothes, characteristic signs of movement, hard hats or gas masks.
Many added a new accessory on Monday: a headband or cover on the eye to pay tribute to a woman who was badly injured in the face Sunday night at a protest.
The woman, who has not been identified, was reportedly hit by projectiles thrown by the police and reportedly lost her sight.
Images of her bloody face as she lay on the floor quickly became viral and appeared on posters calling for protests, with the slogan "Eye for an Eye".
"The Hong Kong police are killing us", could be read on a banner held by a protester. "Hong Kong is no longer safe," said another.
On the walls, columns and gates of the airport, protesters wrote in red "Eye for Eye" in English and Chinese.
"The Hong Kong police have become crazy and their violence is going beyond the guidelines that are set for them," said a 22-year-old protester who gave only his last name: Law. "The people of Hong Kong must rise up and not be afraid," he added.
Some protesters said the airport was chosen as a protest because they thought the police would not fire tear gas in the presence of international visitors.
"The police will not act unreasonably because if people from other countries saw how the police can come and beat people, it would not be serious," said Kelvin Liu, a 19-year-old student at the protest.
- "Sorry for the inconvenience" -
Protesters had already staged a three-day sit-in Friday at the airport, handing leaflets on their move to arriving travelers.
But Monday's scene was very different, with such a compact crowd that it took fifteen minutes to move from the upper floor to the ground floor of the Arrivals Hall.
In the early afternoon, the lobby shops began to close. Organized volunteers went into the crowd to distribute water and food to the protesters, mostly young people.
The travelers looked surprised when they came out of the plane dragging their luggage, some quickly passing by the information on the prodemocracy movement that was stretched to them.
Others stopped to watch the posters and works of art displayed in the lobby and talk with the protesters.
"I think they have every right to do what they do," said 33-year-old Rhiannon Coulton, who was coming from Australia. "I do not know if they will achieve anything," she added.
Ms. Coulton arrived at Hong Kong Airport in one of the last aircraft to land on Monday before the authorities announced the cancellation of all flights.
Against the backdrop of protesters' chants and slogans, from time to time we could hear a muffled announcement coming up from the loudspeakers: "All flights have been canceled, please leave the airport as soon as possible."
The billboards showed rows of flights, all canceled.
Below a sign, a protester had attached a sign: "Sorry for the inconvenience ... But we are fighting for our survival!"
© 2019 AFP