Four Feared Dead As Guinea Protesters Clash With Police

Protesters burn tyres as they demonsrate in Conakry on October 14, 2019.  CELLOU BINANI / AFP

 

Four young demonstrators were killed in clashes between security forces and thousands of protesters in the Guinean capital Conakry on Monday, according to relatives and a doctor, as authorities said a gendarme had also been killed during the unrest.

The deaths occured during rallies called to oppose constitutional changes that could enable 81-year-old President Alpha Conde to seek a third term in office.

Pockets of violence erupted around the outer districts of Conakry, with some demonstrators setting up barricades, burning tires and throwing stones.

Hundreds of police and gendarmes responded with tear gas, stun grenades and real bullets, an AFP reporter saw.

The government confirmed only that a gendarme had been shot dead in the town of Mamou, east of the capital, adding that a resident in the city had been killed in unclear circumstances.

Tely Oury Bah, the father of one of the protesters, said his son Mamadou Lamarana Bah had been “coldly shot by a police officer”.

“I cannot even go to see the body at the hospital mortuary because there is no way through, the roads are blocked”, he said.

Earlier a local doctor said a 16-year-old boy had been killed and several others injured in the suburb of Sonfonia Gare.

The centre of the city, which hosts government offices and embassies, was under lockdown and almost deserted.

 Calls for more protest 

Residents and reporters in several other cities in the country reported disruption, with schools sending pupils home.

Interior Minister Bourema Conde said the protests were marked by acts “that threatened the lives of our citizens”.

Several people were arrested and “the security forces are in control of the situation and calm reigns in the majority of the country”, he said in a statement.

An alliance of unions, opposition parties and civil society groups called the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) had appealed for a massive turnout.

Police on Monday surrounded the house of the opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo and Sidya Toure, who heads the opposition Union of Republican Forces (UFR).

“I ask Guineans to continue to protest and to block the way until the power understands that you cannot impose a dictatorship on us by force,” Toure told AFP by phone.

Alpha Conde is a former opposition figure who in 2010 became the West African state’s first democratically-elected president, but his tenure has been marred by a crackdown on protests.

Last month he called on the public to prepare for a referendum and elections, stirring speculation that he is planning to overcome a constitutional bar on serving a third term. The next presidential ballot is due to be held late next year.

The opposition says about 100 people have been killed since 2010 when Conde took office. He won re-election five years later.

AFP

Ecuador Govt, Protesters Agree To End Violent Protests

An Ecuadorean native waves a national flag during the 10th day of a protest over a fuel price hike ordered by the government to secure an IMF loan, in the surroundings of the National Assembly in Quito on October 12, 2019. Martin BERNETTI / AFP

 

 

Ecuador’s president and indigenous leaders reached an agreement Sunday to end nearly two weeks of violent protests against austerity measures adopted to obtain a multi-billion-dollar loan from the IMF.

The demonstrations have left seven people dead and were sparked when President Lenin Moreno scrapped fuel subsidies to obtain a $4.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, causing prices to double.

Moreno met with Jaime Vargas, the head of the indigenous umbrella grouping CONAIE, for four hours of talks in the capital Quito broadcast live on state television.

“With this agreement, the mobilizations… across Ecuador are terminated and we commit ourselves to restoring peace in the country,” said a joint statement, adding the government had withdrawn an order that removed fuel subsidies.

Thousands flooded into the streets of Quito shortly after the announcement, waving the national flag, honking horns and setting off fireworks in celebration.

The statement was read by an official from the United Nations, which mediated the talks along with the Catholic Church.

“The measures applied in all our territories are lifted,” confirmed Vargas, referring to roads and oil facilities in the Amazon blocked by protesters for almost two weeks. Those actions suspended the distribution of almost 70 percent of the country’s crude oil.

Indigenous groups make up a quarter of Ecuador’s 17.3 million people. Thousands who had traveled from disadvantaged communities across the Amazon and the Andes to spearhead the protests in Quito started to head home after the deal was announced.

“Indigenous brothers, I have always treated you with respect and affection,” Moreno said as the talks opened. “It was never my intention to affect the poorest sectors.”

Moreno had previously declared a curfew and placed Quito under military control to quell the unrest.

On Sunday, violent clashes continued before the talks began as police fought to disperse protesters who tried to put up a barricade of debris from Saturday’s unrest.

Authorities said 1,349 people had been injured and 1,152 detained in the demonstrations.

The violence forced Moreno to relocate his government to Ecuador’s second city, Guayaquil, and hit the oil industry hard with the energy ministry suspending more than two-thirds of its distribution of crude.

– Buildings ransacked –

CONAIE had previously rejected an offer of dialogue but reversed course Saturday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier called on all groups “to commit to inclusive and meaningful talks, and to work in good faith towards a peaceful solution.”

Demonstrators on Saturday ransacked and set fire to the building housing the comptroller general’s office, which was shrouded in thick smoke after being attacked with firebombs.

The prosecutor’s office said 34 people were arrested.

Protesters on Saturday also targeted a television station and a newspaper.

The Teleamazonas TV channel interrupted its regular broadcast to air images of broken windows, a burned vehicle and heavy police presence on the scene.

The station evacuated 25 employees, none of them hurt.

Nearby, protesters built barricades in front of the National Assembly building as police fired tear gas at them.

“We have nothing to do with the events at the comptroller’s office and Teleamazonas,” said CONAIE.

El Comercio newspaper reported on Twitter that its offices were attacked by a “group of unknowns.”

Protesters did not immediately heed the curfew that went into effect on Saturday, with security forces struggling to impose order in some parts of the city.

“Where are the mothers and fathers of the police? Why do they let them kill us?” cried Nancy Quinyupani, an indigenous woman.

The restrictions in Quito, a city of 2.7 million, came on top of a state of emergency Moreno had declared on October 3, deploying some 75,000 military and police and imposing a nighttime curfew in the vicinity of government buildings.

Moreno is struggling with an economic crisis that he blames on waste and corruption by Correa’s administration.

AFP

Police Make Arrests As Flashmob Protests Erupt In Hong Kong

Protesters (C) walk on a street after setting up a barricade in the Mongkok district in Hong Kong on October 13, 2019. DALE DE LA REY / AFP

 

 

Hong Kong riot police spent much of Sunday afternoon skirmishing with small groups of masked pro-democracy protesters who held flashmob gatherings in multiple locations — although crowds were smaller and less violent than recent weekends.

Rallies erupted in multiple neighbourhoods with some protesters blocking roads, spraying graffiti on pro-China businesses, smashing windows and erecting barricades.

Police made multiple arrests as they rushed to intercept activists but the clashes were less heavy than earlier this month when the city was virtually shut down by the most intense unrest of the four-month protest movement.

READ ALSO: Turkey Assault Could Displace 400,000 In Syria, Says UN

In the district of Mongkok, riot police burst from an unmarked van that had screeched up to a blockade made of bamboo scaffolding poles and quickly chased down multiple protesters who were pinned to the ground and detained.

In Tai Po district, officers charged into a mall where protesters had tagged a number of businesses with slogans with at least two arrests made.

Similar flashmobs and brief clashes were witnessed in at least three other locations with bystanders often heckling police as they made arrests.

Hong Kong has been shaken by four months of massive democracy protests which have seen increasingly violent clashes between hardcore demonstrators and police, as well as regular transport disruptions.

The wave of protests in the international finance hub was sparked by opposition to a now-scrapped proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China but has since morphed into a larger movement for democracy and police accountability.

The city enjoys unique rights under the terms of its handover to China by Britain in 1997, including freedom of expression and an independent judiciary, but many believe these are under threat from an increasingly assertive Beijing.

Street battles between riot police and small groups of protesters have become a weekly occurrence, hammering the already struggling economy, spooking tourists and undermining Hong Kong’s reputation for stability.

The beginning of October saw a particularly fierce period of unrest with protesters upping their violence as Communist China celebrated its 70th birthday party.

Clashes further intensified after the city’s leader invoked colonial-era emergency laws to ban face masks at protests.

Over the course of a week, protesters went on a vandalism spree, much of it targeting the city’s subway network and pro-China businesses.

Police also increased their response, firing tear gas and rubber bullets with renewed ferocity. Two teenagers were wounded with live rounds during clashes with police.

But the last few days have seen a comparatively calmer period.

Protesters are pushing for an independent inquiry into the police, an amnesty for the more than 2,500 people arrested and universal suffrage.

Beijing and city leader Carrie Lam have repeatedly rejected those demands.

AFP

Hong Kong Hit By Fresh Violence As Thousands Defy Mask Ban

Hong Kong police advance on protesters during clashes the Wanchai district in Hong Kong on October 6, 2019. Nicolas ASFOURI / AFP

 

Hong Kong was rocked by fresh violence on Sunday as tens of thousands hit the streets to defy a ban on face masks, sparking clashes with police, street fights and vandalism across the strife-torn city. 

Large crowds marched through torrential rain in peaceful but unsanctioned rallies on both sides of Victoria Harbour, condemning the government for deploying emergency powers to ban face masks at public gatherings.

But violence erupted as police dispersed crowds with tear gas, and then battled hardcore protesters in multiple locations — plunging the finance hub into chaos once more.

In one incident, a taxi driver was beaten bloody in the district of Sham Shui Po after he drove into a crowd that had surrounded his car.

“Two girls were hit by the car and one girl was trapped between the car and a shop,” a witness, who gave his surname as Wong, told AFP, adding the crowd managed to push the car off the wounded woman.

An AFP photographer saw volunteer medics treating both the driver and the injured women before paramedics and police arrived. Protesters smashed up the taxi.

Earlier, a crowd ransacked nearby government offices, while multiple Chinese banks and subway stations were vandalised across the city.

Protesters smash a taxi after the driver drove onto the pavement hitting two protesters along Cheung Sha Wan Road during a demonstration in Hong Kong on October 6, 2019. Anthony WALLACE / AFP

Court battle

Activists have staged three straight days of flashmob rallies and sprees of vandalism after Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam outlawed face coverings by protesters, invoking colonial-era emergency powers not used for half a century.

Pro-democracy lawmakers went to the High Court Sunday morning seeking an injunction against the ban, arguing the emergency powers bypassed the legislature and contravened the city’s mini-constitution.

But a senior judge dismissed their case.

The law allows Lam — who has record-low approval ratings — to make “any regulations whatsoever” during a time of public danger.

She warned she would use the powers to introduce new regulations if the unrest did not abate.

The ban was welcomed by government supporters and Beijing, but opponents and protesters saw it as the start of a slippery slope, tipping the international finance hub into authoritarianism.

It has done little to calm tensions or stop crowds coming out so far.

“If Carrie Lam wants to de-escalate the situation, this is not the right way,” a 19-year-old protester, who gave his first name as Corey, told AFP as he marched under a forest of umbrellas on the main island.

Two teen protesters shot

Hong Kong has been battered by 18 consecutive weekends of unrest, fanned by widespread public anger over Chinese rule and the police response to protests.

The rallies were ignited by a now-scrapped plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, which fuelled fears of an erosion of liberties promised under the 50-year “one country, two systems” model China agreed to ahead of the 1997 handover by Britain.

After Beijing and local leaders took a hard stance, the demonstrations snowballed into a wider movement calling for more democratic freedoms and police accountability.

Lam has refused major concessions, but struggled to come up with any political solution.

The worst clashes to date erupted on Tuesday as China celebrated 70 years of Communist Party rule, with a teenager shot and wounded by police as he attacked an officer.

A 14-year-old boy was shot and wounded Friday when a plainclothes police officer, who was surrounded by a mob of protesters throwing petrol bombs, fired his sidearm.

Much of subway shuttered

The city’s subway system — which carries four million people daily — was shut down entirely Friday night and throughout Saturday, bringing much of the metropolis to a halt.

Major supermarket chains and malls announced they were closing, leading to long lines and panic buying.

On Sunday, more than half the stations remained shuttered, many of them in the heart of the city’s main tourist districts.

Some lines were later closed entirely as Sunday’s violence worsened.

Lam has defended her use of the emergency powers.

“We cannot allow rioters any more to destroy our treasured Hong Kong,” Lam said in a stony-faced video statement on Saturday.

But opposition lawmakers said the use of the law had deepened the crisis.

“I would say this is one of the most important constitutional cases in the history of Hong Kong,” lawmaker Dennis Kwok told reporters before Sunday’s ruling.

Protester demands include an independent inquiry into the police, an amnesty for the more than 2,000 people arrested and universal suffrage — all requests rejected by Lam and Beijing.

The Way Sowore Was Treated Was Very Uncivilised – West Idahosa

 

Former Lawmaker, Hon West Idahosa has condemned the manner with which the convener of the RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, was treated by security operatives on Monday.

Mr Sowere who was brought to the court by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), on Monday was seen being dragged in while trying to engage with his supporters.

According to Idahosa, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Politics Today, although it was nice for Sowore to have been given the opportunity to make a case for himself, the way he was treated was not acceptable.

“I think it was nice to arraign him so that he can have the chance to make his case before the court and defend himself. But what was not nice to see was the way he was being mal-handled by the security agencies when he tried to explain the reason why he was in court and to make some clarifications.

“I think that was very very uncivilised. Otherwise, the arraignment is in order and he gets a good chance to defend himself and then, of course, subject himself to the due process of the law,” he said.

The former lawmaker also explained that it is not a breach of the law for an accused person to entertain questions or interact with the media while in court.

Read Also: Sowore, Co-Defendant Remanded In DSS Custody

“There is nothing that prohibits that and don’t forget that this is a special trial. This is a trial that is political in nature and the accused person is not just an activist but also a politician with a huge followership in the country.

“So, when you have such a situation, you would have to allow some compromise and allow the accused person some level of communication with those who believe in him and those who share his philosophies.. given the fact that he has been held incommunicado for some number of days.

“There was absolutely nothing illegal about making a few statements to the media,” he said.

However, according to him, for those who tried to pull him away, “they would say they have the charge to take custody of him and ensure that he does not take the liberty of being surrounded by his supporters to escape from custody”.

Meanwhile, Vice Chairman of the Buhari Media Group, Aliyu Abdullahi, also reacted to the situation.

When asked if the situation rubs off on the image of the government negatively, he said he doesn’t think it affects the government’s image.

He also explained why he believes the DSS operatives acted the way they did.

“I don’t see what played out in the court today as something that will impact on the generality of the government or on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“To be honest, these are institutions who are doing their own work, trying to make sure that they function within their mandate.. (that is the DSS). They may also be concerned about what will happen within the confines of the court if he (Sowore) is embroiled with the supporters and things like that.

“It could also be for his own safety because when there is a crowd, you don’t know who is who,” Abdullahi said.

He, however, clarified that he would never advocate for disobedience of court orders.

“All court orders must be and should be obeyed by all institutions, be it the executive or wherever the order falls on,” he said.

Read Also: It Is An Insult For DSS To Say Conditions Have Not Been Met – Falana

But according to him, in some situations, national security may be put above individual interests.

“We live in a practical world and things are not perfect. The government also is not perfect. You have to also weigh in the national security interest, vis-à-vis the individual rights”.

Abdullahi also made reference to the situation involving the leader of proscribed group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

According to him, he was released on bail but later absconded and has proven to be a threat to national security.

Climate Change: Protesters Call On Govt To Protect Citizens

Photos: Sodiq Adelakun/ChannelsTV

 

Protesters took to the streets of Abuja on Friday to call on the government to protect citizens against the effects of climate change.

Bearing various placards, they called on the government to focus on massive public financing of agro-ecology both at local, states and federal level.

See photos below.

Thousands Protest In Algiers Despite Tight Security

Algerian protesters take part in a demonstration against the country’s army chief in Algeria’s capital Algiers on September 20, 2019, as the police toughens its line ahead of December elections.
AFP

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Algerian capital on Friday in defiance of a heavy security presence to demand the ouster of the country’s army chief.

Demonstrators gathered near the capital’s main post office square, the epicentre of Algeria’s protest movement that forced longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down in April, this time calling for the ouster of General Ahmed Gaid Salah.

“The people want the fall of Gaid Salah,” the strongman in post-Bouteflika Algeria, they chanted. “Take us all to prison, the people will not stop.”

Friday’s protest marked Algeria’s 31st consecutive week of rallies, but protesters faced a heavy deployment of security forces in the city centre and along its main avenues.

Salah on Wednesday ordered police to block protesters from outside Algiers entering the capital to boost numbers at the anti-regime rallies.

The tougher line on protests came just days after interim president Abdelkader Bensalah announced a December 12 date for a presidential election to fill the vacuum left by Bouteflika’s departure.

 

The army chief has led the push for polls by the end of 2019, despite mass protests demanding political reforms and the removal of the former president’s loyalists — including Gaid Salah himself — before any vote.

In the runup to the latest rally, as on previous Fridays, police made several arrests near the square, AFP photographers said.

Police stopped vehicles on main streets in the capital and an AFP journalist saw officers in plainclothes ask for identity papers, before some were led off to nearby vans.

As a police helicopter scoured the skies, security forces also stopped cars headed towards the city centre from its southwest entrance, where a dozen anti-riot police vans were stationed.

Said Salhi, deputy head of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, condemned the heightened security measures as “illegal”.

Demonstrations have officially been banned in Algiers since 2001 but the prohibition had been ignored since rallies started on February 22 against the ailing Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth presidential term.

Yellow Vest Crisis ‘Very Good For Me’, Says Macron

Protesters listen to Jerome Rodrigues (L), one of the leading figures of the ‘Yellow Vest’ (gilet jaune) movement, as they take part in an anti-government demonstration, on April 20, 2019 in Paris. / AFP

 

President Emmanuel Macron has said he believes the yellow vest protests that rocked France since last year have been good for him as they made him listen and communicate better, in an interview published on Thursday.

The yellow vest (gilets jaunes) protests, which often descended into violent clashes with the police, erupted last November, with demonstrators accusing Macron of being aloof and unaware of the needs of ordinary French people.

Now over two years into his five-year term, Macron is hoping in the next phase of his term to focus on his ambitious vision for reforming not just France but also the EU.

“In a certain way, the gilets jaunes were very good for me,” Macron told Time magazine in an interview for a front-page cover story. “Because it reminded me who I should be.”

He acknowledged that the protests had made him aware that he needed to be less disconnected.

“My challenge is to listen to people much better than I did at the very beginning,” he said, for the story entitled “Macron’s Moment”.

“I probably provided the feeling that I wanted to reform even against people.

“And sometimes my impatience was felt as an impatience (with) the French people. That is not the case,” he said, adding that his impatience was with France’s system itself.

“Now, I think I need to take more time to explain where we are and what we want to do exactly.”

Analysts say that for now, Macron appears to have seen off the worst of the yellow vest protests, which are still taking place every weekend but on nothing like the scale of six months ago.

But he has to keep an eye on his own popularity and France’s powerful unions as he seeks to implement reforms at home. The Paris metro last Friday saw its worst strike in years over a planned pension overhaul.

He has also taken an active role on the international stage, though his drives to defuse the Iran nuclear dispute and also bring peace to Ukraine could yet be derailed.

Time quoted Macron as saying he was currently in a “Death Valley” period between setting out his reforms and seeing them bearing fruit.

“The end of Death Valley is the day you have results,” he said. “Building this new France is my obsession.”

AFP

China Accuses US Of Fuelling Hong Kong Unrest

Protesters march with a banner that uses the stars of the Chinese national flag to depict a Nazi swastika symbol in the Central district of Hong Kong on August 31, 2019.  Anthony WALLACE / AFP

 

Beijing Thursday accused Washington of “adding fuel to the fire” of Hong Kong unrest after leaders of the city’s pro-democracy movement appealed directly to US lawmakers to exert pressure on China.

Activists from the semi-autonomous city testified before a congressional commission in support of US legislation aimed at defending civil rights in Hong Kong, which has been convulsed by weeks of huge, sometimes violent rallies.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press briefing Thursday that the US should “stop supporting violent radical forces and Hong Kong independence separatists, and stop adding fuel to the fire to the words and deeds that damage the prosperity and stability of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

Geng called for the US to “stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs in any form.”

Millions have taken to the streets of Hong Kong in months of protests, which were initially against a now-dropped bid by its leaders to allow extraditions to the mainland, but broadened into a wider push for democracy.

The hearing on Tuesday examined legislation that would end Hong Kong’s special trading status with the US unless the State Department each year certifies that the city’s authorities are respecting human rights and rule of law.

Beijing has repeatedly accused “foreign forces” of being behind the pro-democracy protests.

A related bill under consideration would ban the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd control equipment to the Hong Kong police after concerns that Western imports abetted their crackdown.

“As I speak, Hong Kong is standing at a critical juncture. The stakes have never been higher,” said 22-year-old Joshua Wong, one of the most prominent figures in the largely leaderless movement.

“This is a plea for universal human rights. This is a plea for democracy. This is a plea for the freedom to choose,” Cantopop star Denise Ho told the congressional commission.

China summoned Germany’s ambassador last week after Wong visited the European power and met with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas — a meeting Beijing branded “disrespectful”.

AFP

PHOTOS: IDPs Protest In Niger, Demand Security In Camps

Some aggrieved Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), on Thursday, blocked Tegina-Minna road in Niger State.

The IDPs, mostly women, and children were protesting over alleged negligence and lack of adequate security in there IDP camps.

READ ALSO: Northern Governors Meet To Chart New Course For The Region

They also blamed the state government for abandoning them since they have sought refuge at the camp after banditry attacks sacked heir communities.

Over five thousand persons are currently taking shelter in five IDPs camps provided by the Niger State government after bandits attacked several communities in areas including Rafa and Shiroro in the state.

 

See photos from the protest below…

IMN Vows To Proceed With Procession Despite Ban

Members of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as Shiites on Monday announced that they will embark on a procession tomorrow, September 10.

This was disclosed by IMN spokesperson, Ibrahim Musa in a video made exclusively available to Channels Television on Monday.

He described the procession as “yearly peaceful Ashura procession,” adding that it will hold in major cities across the country.

The procession, he added, is aimed at mourning their members which were brutally killed.

READ ALSO: Many Terrorists Reportedly Killed As Troops Rid Borno Village Of Terrorists

“The procession is to mourn the massacre of the prophet’s grandson who was brutally killed on the 10th of Muharram which coincides with tomorrow, 10th of September.

“In fact, this peaceful mourning will take place in various European countries including New York, London. Not to talk of places like Massard in Iran and Eastern part of Saudi Arabia,” he said in the video.

The spokesperson added that the procession will hold despite the alleged plan of Nigeria Police to disrupt the procession.

“This Ashura event has been taking place in the country for decades unnoticed because security authorities do not attack us.

“We wonder why this administration decides to attack us just because we are expressing our religious duties,” he said.

He insisted that the Shiites group are “peace-loving people. Just like Islam is a religion of peace.”

The announcement of a procession by the group is coming even as the police had said that no group should hold protest or procession on major streets in the nation’s capital without a permit.

Hong Kong Police Stop Protest At Airport

A group of riot police stand guard on a main road during a protest in Mong Kok district in Hong Kong on September 7, 2019.  Philip FONG / AFP

 

Riot police fanned out across Hong Kong Saturday and thwarted plans by pro-democracy protesters to target the airport, days after the city’s leader made a surprise concession which was rejected by the movement as too little, too late.

Millions of pro-democracy supporters have taken to Hong Kong’s streets for the past three months in the biggest challenge to China’s rule since the city’s handover from Britain in 1997.

On Wednesday, the city’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam surprised many by announcing she was scrapping a hugely unpopular extradition law that sparked the widespread and sometimes violent rallies.

The withdrawal was one of the protesters’ key demands and both she and Beijing had previously refused to budge on the issue.

Lam, who was not directly elected but appointed by an overwhelmingly Beijing-friendly committee, portrayed the move as a bid to de-escalate tensions and start a dialogue.

But it has been widely dismissed by protesters as an empty gesture after 14 weeks of clashes with more than 1,100 arrests and many facing lengthy jail sentences.

Online messaging forums used by the largely leaderless movement had called for protesters to “stress test” the airport on Saturday afternoon, filling up with suggestions for how to disrupt the road and rail links leading to the terminals.

But a large deployment of police at key bus, ferry and rail links across the city appeared to deter protesters from arriving en masse.

Tao Tsz Fung, 26, managed to get through the security checks and made it to the airport, along with a few dozen more protesters hanging around outside the terminal.

“There are just too many police around,” he told AFP. “But we’ll be out again tomorrow.”

Some train and bus services to the airport were running a more restricted service while police performed multiple stop and searches, largely of young people.

At the airport itself, the atmosphere was calm but passengers had to queue to have bags searched and boarding passes checked before being allowed to enter.

“On the way to the airport, our bus stopped for some sort of searching. The police came into the bus and checked everyone,” James Reis, a passenger who arrived nine hours ahead of his flight home to Portugal, told AFP.

Travel chaos 

In the evening, riot police fought cat and mouse skirmishes with small groups of hardcore protesters in Mongkok, which has seen regular clashes.

Protesters blocked roads and set light to makeshift barricades and police made multiple arrests. But the level of violence was less severe than the last two weekends.

In recent weeks, the airport — the world’s eighth busiest — has become a repeated target of pro-democracy protesters as they try to ramp up pressure on Beijing and city leaders by denting Hong Kong’s reputation as a stable business hub.

But the tactic is controversial because of the travel misery it causes — and the fact that the target is not the state but ordinary people.

Last month hundreds of flights were cancelled over two days when huge crowds of protesters staged a sit-in at the airport, with ugly scenes playing out as two men suspected of being Chinese spies were beaten.

Previous protests at the airport had been non-disruptive and peaceful, aimed at enlightening travellers about the movement’s goals.

Since the violent scenes, security has been ramped up around the sprawling hub — which lies on reclaimed land west of the main city — and access to the terminals has been restricted to those with boarding passes.

But last Sunday protesters returned to the airport and showed they could still wreak havoc.

Operators of the express train that links the airport and the city suspended services after the station was besieged and objects were thrown onto the rail line.

Roads we also blocked forcing stranded travellers to abandon their vehicles and drag their luggage for many kilometres.

Protesters have said their movement will only end when other key demands are met such as an amnesty for those arrested, an independent inquiry into the police and the granting of fully free elections.

AFP