HONG KONG (CBS SF) – Violent clashes between authorities and demonstrators in Hong Kong led to the shutdown of the airport on Monday and to the cancellation of flights to destinations worldwide, including to San Francisco.
Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said all flights not already checked in for departure, and all scheduled incoming flights not already in the air would be canceled, CBS News reported Monday.
The dramatic shutdown came as dozens of protesters, demonstrating against what they consider the central Beijing government’s efforts to assert more control over the semi-autonomous city, filled the arrivals hall at Hong Kong International Airport.
In a statement to CBS News, the Airport Authority said it would “work closely with its business partners with a view to resuming normal airport operations as soon as possible. Affected passengers are reminded to pay attention to the latest flight information through the airport’s website and the ‘HKG My Flight’ mobile app.”
At least three flights to San Francisco International Airport were canceled, according to the airport’s website. They include Cathay Pacific Flight 892 and Singapore Airlines Flight 2, which were scheduled to depart Monday evening from Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific Flight 872, which was scheduled to leave early Tuesday Hong Kong time was also canceled.
Flights arriving to Hong Kong from San Francisco did not appear to be impacted.
Monday was the fourth day in a row that the protesters had occupied the arrivals hall. Officials said there were as many as 5,000 demonstrators inside the terminal.
CBS News producer Chris Liable said the airport protest was peaceful, but Chinese authorities have already started taking a harder line against the demonstrators after months of unrest, with tension still escalating on the streets.