08/05/2019, 08.53
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Hong Kong general strike grounds more than 200 flights

by Paul Wang

Dozens of trade unions and over 20 commercial sector organizations take part.  Yesterday new clashes between protesters and police in Causeway Bay and Wong Tai Sing.  Carrie Lam: The protesters have become "a challenge to the sovereignty of our country".  The Hang Seng index drops 3%.

 

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - More than 200 flights were canceled this morning at Hong Kong international airport due to a general strike against government and police actions linked to the extradition law.  Dozens of trade unions and more than 20 trade sector organizations have joined the strike.  State employees also demonstrated over the weekend.

Today's demonstrations, which threaten to paralyze the city, follow protests that persist for over nine weeks - supported by millions of people - and demand the total cancellation of the extradition law and an independent investigation into the excessive use of force  by the police towards the protesters.

In recent weeks, the government, through the head of executive Carrie Lam, "buried" the law, without definitively withdrawing it, and praised the work of the police, as did the Chinese government on several occasions.  Dozens of protesters have been arrested and charged with "revolt", which can cost 10 years in prison.

Yesterday in various demonstrations there were clashes with the police in Causeway Bay and Wong Tai Sing, where the population cwere dispersed by the police who used tear gas.

This morning, in a press conference after more than two weeks of silence, Carrie Lam warned the demonstrators that are blocking the city with their actions they  "challenge our country's sovereignty, and jeopardize 'one country two systems', will destroy the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong,".

Lam's words seem to be related to those expressed by Chen Daoxiang, head of the Chinese army garrison based in Hong Kong, who declared on July 31 that no more violent clashes can be tolerated and that the army is determined to protect the  sovereignty of China in the territory.

 Paul Chan, secretary of finance, said today that the local economy is under strong negative pressure.  The Hang Seng index on the Hong Kong stock exchange fell by over 3%.

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