Flights canceled, major roads blocked as Hong Kong protests escalate
Protesters are moving rapidly between districts. One group of demonstrators is now in Sham Shui Po -- a heavily populated area at the northern end of Kowloon that is one of the city's poorest districts.
Compared to the glitz and glamor of Hong Kong Island, Sham Shui Po is populated mostly by working-class people.
Hundreds of protesters have set up barricades on the roads leading to Sham Shui Po police station.
Officers have already fired tear gas in an effort to move the protesters on.
Monday marked the most widespread -- and possibly the biggest -- day of protests yet.
After calling for general strikes, protesters started the day by blocking subway doors across the city, throwing the transport system into chaos.
More than 100 flights were cancelled at Hong Kong airport as ground workers went on strike. There were also disruptions at government offices, beaches -- and even Hong Kong Disneyland.
Large strike gatherings in seven districts were approved by police. But the demonstrations quickly deteriorated into clashes between protesters and officers.
Demonstrators even reoccupied Harcourt Road, outside the city government offices in one of Hong Kong's busiest districts. Police in multiple areas responded with tear gas.
As the night wore on, protesters showed no signs of letting up. They attacked multiple police stations -- painting slogans, lighting fires and destroying property.
Armed citizens also appeared to attack demonstrators in the Hong Kong Island district of North Point.
At around 8.45 p.m. local time, there are still multiple stand offs between police and protesters across the city.
In a statement just released, the Hong Kong's police force condemned the protesters for "blocking roads extensively and setting fire to miscellaneous objects."
"The protesters are surrounding and attacking various police stations and the adjacent (barracks), hurling igniting objects and hard objects, making damages to the premises," the statement said.
Police have condemned the violence and said they are using "minimum force" to remove the demonstrators.
Two protest scenes have seen flashes of violence on both sides of Hong Kong, with no end in sight to today's demonstrations.
Police and protesters clashed in the suburban district of Wong Tai Sin, in front of the police barracks. Officers raised the black warning flag and fired tear gas at protesters who temporarily dispersed.
On the other side of Victoria Harbor, there were reports of violence between protesters and armed civilians in the residential area of North Point.
Video from the scene showed the civilians beating protesters with long poles, while the demonstrators threw traffic cones and bollards at them.
If you'd booked to visit Hong Kong in the next few weeks, you might be feeling concerned right now.
But despite the mass protests, tear gas and riot police on the streets, Hong Kong is still a relatively safe place to visit, with much of the city running as normal.
For its part, the Hong Kong Tourism Commission has said the city is still open to travelers. And key major attractions such as the Peak Tram, the Ladies' Market and the Star Ferry, which takes passengers across the Victoria Harbor to Kowloon, have been unaffected.
But there are signs the protests are having an impact on tourism.
Between June 16 and July 13, during which time there were several huge demonstrations, flight bookings to Hong Kong from Asia fell by 5.4% on the same period last year, according to analysis firm ForwardKeys.
Read more in this article.
Demonstrations in Hong Kong have forced the city's biggest airline, Cathay Pacific, to cancel more than 150 flights and urge passengers to postpone non-essential travel.
Cathay Pacific urged customers not to fly Monday and Tuesday, and said it would waive fees for rebooking. Shares in Cathay plunged more than 4% during trading Monday.
The airline is the city's flagship carrier. It flies about 34 million passengers every year and serves nearly 200 cities around the world from its hub at Hong Kong's international airport.
Hong Kong Airlines, a smaller carrier, said it has canceled 32 flights. United Airlines said its flights were unaffected.
More than 2,300 aviation workers took part in the strike, including 1,200 Cathay cabin crew and pilots, according to the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions.
Service was suspended for more than an hour Monday morning on the Airport Express, which is a line that zips people between the airport and the city center in under 25 minutes.
Hong Kong air space and runway capacity at the airport has been effectively reduced by 50% for all airlines, according to an internal Cathay Pacific memo seen by CNN that was sent to staff that supports pilots and ensures planes operate efficiently and on time.
More than 74 million passengers traveled to and from Hong Kong's international airport last year. The major Asian hub handles 1,100 passenger and cargo flights daily, with services between Hong Kong and about 200 international destinations.
While older Hong Kongers who grew up in the British colony strongly identify with China and saw a point of pride in the city returning to Chinese rule,today, the number of people who express pride in being a Chinese citizen is at a record low, with a significant number of young people identifying as Hong Kongers rather than Chinese, according to the Hong Kong University Public Opinion Program.
For those who identify as Hong Kongers, the idea of being fully absorbed by what they view as a foreign country is terrifying, let alone a country as authoritarian as Xi Jinping's China.
Many worry about the impending 2047 deadline, when the current "one country, two systems" model that Hong Kong is governed under expires.
Undoubtedly 2047 seemed like a long way off for those overseeing Hong Kong's handover, and remained impossibly distant for much of the city's early political development, but for the student protesters flooding the streets this year, it is very much on the horizon -- 18-year-olds today will be 46 when the city becomes fully Chinese.
Unlike many millennial Hong Kongers -- whose parents moved abroad in the years running up to handover, taking advantage of generous immigration laws within the British Commonwealth to get their children foreign passports -- they also have no way out. This is their home and they're stuck here, like it or not, so they may as well try to fix it.
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Protesters started a large fire outside a police station in Sha Tin, a residential area of northern Hong Kong where authorities and demonstrators have clashed today.
After making a pile of boxes and wooden pallets, protesters sparked a fire at about 7.30 p.m. local time. Firefighters have arrived at the scene and are attempting to put it out.
This weekend's protests saw demonstrators start multiple fires. In the shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui on Saturday, protesters started a fire inside a car in a police station.
One of the Hong Kong's biggest roads has been completely blocked by protesters, setting up yet another confrontation with police.
Nathan Road runs down the spine of Kowloon Peninsula and is one of the city's most important roads. On Saturday night all six lanes were completely occupied by protesters, leading to violent clashes with police.
Protesters have now reoccupied the road in the crowded shopping district of Mong Kok, near Argyle Road.
Police are already facing down protesters in Causeway Bay, Tin Shui Wai and Sha Tin, among others.
Although demonstrations have been going on for weeks, this is the first time they've spread to so many districts simultaneously.