Hong Kong was plunged into transport turmoil on Monday as a city-wide strike gripped the city, bringing rail and airline services to a halt in some areas.
The affected MTR lines — parts of the Kwun Tong, Island, Tseung Kwan O, East Rail, West Rail line, with the Airport Express and Tsuen Wan line suspended from around 9am and 11:17am respectively — saw dense crowds of angry commuters pour onto the platforms.
At several MTR stations, including Tai Wai, Central, Diamond Hill and Fortress Hill stations, protesters blocked the doors with their bodies and objects, such as water bottles, while verbal confrontations broke out as commuters tried to board the trains.
RTHK reported that a protester at Lai King Station blocked a train door from closing by lying down and had to be removed by medical staff on a stretcher.
The disruptions are part of a planned city-wide strike across seven districts — Tuen Mun, Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan, Wong Tai Sin, Tai Po, Mong Kok and Admiralty.
As of 9.30am on Monday, over 230 arrival and departure flights on Hong Kong Airport International Airport’s website were shown to be cancelled as some staff walked out.
The Airport Authority’s released a statement at 00:10am saying that “potential circumstances” might affect the airport’s operations.
Meanwhile, the Hang Seng Index – the city’s stock-market index – fell by 1.6 per cent when it opened on Monday morning.
A spokesperson for the Labour Department urged employers on Monday morning to make flexible work arrangements for staff affected by the transport disruption.
“For staff who cannot report to work on time on account of conditions in road traffic or public transport services, employers should give due consideration to the circumstances of individual employees and handle each case flexibly,” they said.
Cars going round and round and round a roundabout in Tai Po, a suburban town in northern Hong Kong, as protesters launch a massive citywide strike. https://t.co/SURzxOQYlr pic.twitter.com/6bFYQVQepU
— Mary Hui (@maryhui) August 5, 2019
The city has entered its ninth consecutive week of protests sparked by a now-suspended extradition bill, which has seen tensions flare over the government’s handling of the crisis, the police’s use of crowd control measures, and mob violence.
Monday’s mass strike comes a day after wildcat road occupations broke out at the end of two separate anti-extradition law protests in Tseung Kwan O and Kennedy Town, with flashpoints at other districts including Kwun Tong as the evening wore on.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam is set to meet the press at 10am.