Hong Kong (AFP)

Not being able to embark is still annoying, but at Hong Kong airport, many travelers stuck with the cancellation of their flight after a protest on Tuesday express their solidarity with protesters who have won the sympathy of the opinion .

"It's disappointing because we were hoping to be home today," said Nathan, a 31-year-old Filipino who has just spent a four-day weekend in the former British colony. His flight is announced with delay and his departure is uncertain.

"But we can not help it, it's their right to demonstrate, it's their territory, and we're just passing through."

The world's busiest international airport, with 74 million passengers in 2018, Hong Kong Airport made an unprecedented decision Monday afternoon to cancel all take-off and landing flights after the rise of a demonstration in its main terminal.

The former British colony is experiencing its worst political crisis since its handover to China in 1997. Party early in June the rejection of a Hong Kong bill that intended to allow extradition to Beijing, the movement has significantly expanded its claims to denounce the decline of freedoms and the interference of China in internal affairs.

- A "zero" government -

The protesters, who for several weeks have shown a surprising inventiveness in their modes of action, began Friday a sit-in in the arrivals hall at the airport, to educate travelers to their cause.

This action had no impact on air traffic until Monday afternoon, when the airport canceled the remaining flights due to a clear inflation of the number of protesters, while some of them were ventured this time into the departures hall.

The flights resumed progressively Tuesday morning, but the cancellations of the day have had the effect of penalizing tens of thousands of passengers who hoped Tuesday to embark.

However, most affected travelers are understanding.

"This has actually had an impact for me," says Mag Mak, a 27-year-old commercial whose flight left Dubai five hours late.

"But I know why they do that and I support them," he said of the protesters. "I think the government is bad and has no answer to bring to the protesters."

Throughout their four-day sit-in, the protesters made sure not to bother travelers, especially trying to explain their mobilization.

And as soon as customs cleared, passengers arriving in the main hall were surprised to find an oil spill - the color of their t-shirts - of protesters smiling, singing, handing them leaflets, forming a giant hedge of honor for visitors.

- "The most adorable in the world" -

"These protesters are the most adorable people in the world," smiles 65-year-old Pete Knox, who makes a 10-month world tour with his bike.

He is supposed to fly to Ho Chi Minh but is not sure that his plane, a priori maintained, take off on time.

"I understand the substance of their mobilization that concerns freedom and democracy, two crucial things."

Tibor, a real estate agent who has been living in Hong Kong for a long time, is waiting to take his canceled flight the day before.

He explains fully understand this movement "because it is annoying to live in a society whose government does not dialogue with its people."

While recent demonstrations have often led to clashes between radicals and police officers, the Hong Kong mobilization has also been characterized by peaceful marches gathering huge crowds, including one that reached in June the two million people according to the organizers .

Some counter-demonstrations also took place in support of the police and the government, and in some neighborhoods there have been rare clashes with pro-Beijing residents.

"I have nothing against the protesters, but we are five hours late," plague Wing Au-yeung, 50, stopover in Hong Kong to recover his mother before going to South Korea as a family. "They do what they want but they should not interfere with people."

burs-gle / jac / lch

© 2019 AFP