Emotional Hong Kong Leader Urges Calm Amid Protests, Airport Reopens

A pro-democracy protester is held by police outside Tsim Sha Tsui Police station during a demonstration

A pro-democracy protester is held by police outside Tsim Sha Tsui Police station during a demonstration

It was the 10th consecutive weekend that protesters had taken to the streets in a movement that began over opposition to a bill allowing extradition to mainland China. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index came off its session high and contracts for all three main US equity indexes erased earlier gains. Dramatic videos showed riot police firing weapons at close range and beating some protesters, many of whom wore yellow hard hats and gas masks.

"All those who care about Hong Kong's future should come out and stand against all criminal acts and perpetrators of violence", Yang told reporters.

"Hong Kong's radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely unsafe tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging", Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said on Monday.

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the "one country, two systems" arrangement enshrining some autonomy for Hong Kong when China took it back in 1997.

"Hong Kong's radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely unsafe tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging", said Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council. "The police action has gone totally nonsensical", she said.

In Beijing, authorities slammed violent protesters who threw petrol bombs at police officers, linking them to "terrorism".

A government official said 45 people were injured in the clashes, including two who were in serious condition. The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, its top agency overseeing the former British colony's affairs, has held unprecedented briefings condemning violent protesters and called on the people of Hong Kong to oppose them. Flanked by business leaders on Aug 9, Hong Kong's embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam said aftershocks could hit Hong Kong's economy like a "tsunami".

At the airport, a flight attendant protesting on his day off, who gave only his surname, Lau, to avoid repercussions from his employer, said heavy-handed police tactics had alienated some people.

On Monday, the central government in Beijing ominously characterized the protest movement as something approaching "terrorism" that posed an "existential threat" to the population.

Tear gas was also deployed in central Hong Kong on both sides of Victoria Harbour, in the Tsim Sha Tsui area on the Kowloon side and in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island.

China's aviation regulator has issued new rules requiring that it submit lists of staff flying to the mainland or through its airspace and banning those involved with "illegal protests" in Hong Kong.

A Cathay customer officer at the airport, who declined to provide his name, said almost all the airline's flights were full.

It may cancel more flights Tuesday depending on the situation as some protesters remained at the arrival hall. Those demonstrations also ended in tear gas and dispersal operations.

Hong Kong has reportedly ordered three of the vehicles at a cost of HK$27 million ($3.4 million), though police declined to confirm the exact price-tag. "We have to stop the violence".

-With assistance from Fion Li, Will Davies and Justin Chin.