Hong Kong strikes escalate into city-wide clashes

Domestic News

In Hong Kong on Monday, widespread strikes brought the usually bustling city to a relative halt, with 11 rail lines partly suspending service. Meanwhile, protesters also blocked several major roads.

Antigovernment protesters “from across society…mounted their fiercest challenge to the authorities on Monday, disrupting more than 200 airline flights, occupying malls and blocking roadways and rail lines to snarl the commute for hundreds of thousands of workers,” reports the New York Times.

“More than 2,330 aviation workers joined the strike, according to the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, leading to the cancellation of more than 100 flights to and from one of the world’s busiest airports,” according to CNN. “Strikers included teachers, lifeguards at beaches, security workers, construction workers — and almost 14,000 people from the engineering sector.

The strike “escalated into city-wide skirmishes between protesters and riot police,” reports Hong Kong Free Press. “Police fired tear gas in at least seven different districts.” Also from HKFP, “Hong Kong police say they have fired some 1,000 rounds of tear gas, 160 rubber bullets and 150 sponge grenades since large-scale anti-extradition bill protests erupted on June 9. 420 people have been arrested.”

The protests are not over yet. To see what is going on, click here to find video livestreams from multiple locations in Hong Kong.

Rhetoric from Beijing and the Hong Kong government is hardening. “Beijing has reiterated its “unflagging support” for embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥 Lín-Zhèng Yuè’é) and warned that the city was entering “a most dangerous phase” with rampant violence on the streets,” reports the South China Morning Post.

Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily published a front page editorial (in Chinese) on August 5 expressing support for the Hong Kong police, while a separate commentary (in Chinese) said that said ongoing “chaos” in Hong Kong “will not be tolerated.” Xinhua News Agency droned on that “any attempt to endanger China’s sovereignty and security, challenge the authority of the central government and the sanctity of the Basic Law of the HKSAR, or use Hong Kong as a channel for infiltration and sabotage against the mainland is an act that crosses the bottom line, and is absolutely impermissible.”

Photo: AP