By Associated Press
HONG KONG — Anti-government protesters blocked roads near Hong Kong’s airport with burning barricades and damaged a train station Sunday after a night of violent clashes with police.
Train and some bus service to the airport on the outlying island of Chek Lap Kok were suspended. Some passengers walked to the airport, one of Asia’s busiest, carrying their luggage, but some flights were delayed.
Hong Kong has been the scene of tense anti-government protests for nearly three months. The demonstrations began in response to a proposed extradition law and have expanded to include other grievances and demands for democracy in the semiautonomous Chinese territory.
The protests are an embarrassment to China’s ruling Communist Party ahead of Oct. 1 celebrations of its 70th anniversary in power.
The protesters complain Beijing and the government of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam are eroding the autonomy and civil liberties promised when the former British colony was returned to China in 1997.
On Sunday, the MTR Corp. suspended train service to the airport after several hundred protesters gathered there following calls online to disrupt transportation. They blocked buses arriving at the airport but police in riot helmets kept them out of the terminal.
The government said some protesters threw objects at police. It also said iron poles, bricks and rocks were thrown onto tracks of the airport train.
At least 26 flights from Hong Kong and 17 to the city had been canceled as of 7:55 p.m., the South China Morning Post newspaper reported, citing information from the airport.
After protesters began to stream away from the airport in the late afternoon, some attacked a train station in the adjacent Tung Chung area. They used metal bars to smash lights and broke open a fire hose valve, sending water gushing across the floor.
Protesters set up barricades on two adjacent streets and set fire to some of them. Firefighters arrived a few minutes later to douse the blaze.
Protesters left the area after busloads of riot police in green fatigues with black helmets and riot shields flooded into the train station.
The Post reported that drivers of taxis and private cars on the toll road from the airport were picking up protesters to help them avoid arrest.
Passengers arriving downtown on a ferry from Lantau Island, where Tung Chung is located, were being searched by police and asked for identity cards, the newspaper said.
The protests followed a night of violent clashes between protesters and police.
On Saturday, protesters threw gasoline bombs at government headquarters. Police stormed a subway car and hit passengers with clubs and pepper spray.