HONG KONG PROTESTS:

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Timothy McLaugh­lin and Anna Kam

Thou­sands of pro­test­ers shut down Hong Kong’s in­ter­na­tional air­port Mon­day, de­fy­ing an in­ten­si­fy­ing po­lice crack­down, as China is­sued omi­nous warn­ings that de­scribed the protests as “ter­ror­ism” and be­gan mass­ing a para­mil­i­tary force in a south­ern bor­der city.

HONG KONG — Thou­sands of pro­test­ers shut down Hong Kong’s in­ter­na­tional air­port Mon­day, de­fy­ing an in­ten­si­fy­ing po­lice crack­down, as China is­sued omi­nous warn­ings that de­scribed the protests as “ter­ror­ism” and be­gan mass­ing a para­mil­i­tary force in a south­ern bor­der city.

Some of the pro­test­ers who had been oc­cu­py­ing the air­port’s ar­rivals hall swarmed into the de­part ures area Mon­day, prompt­ing au­thor­i­ties to can­cel all flights and ad­vise trav­el­ers to leave one of the world’s busiest hubs.

The ac­tion came in re­sponse to a sharp in­crease in the level of force em­ployed by Hong Kong’s em­bat­tled po­lice. Hours be­fore the air­port shut­down, two po­lice of­fi­cers else­where in the city had pinned a black-clad demon­stra­tor to the con­crete, one of­fi­cer’s knee press­ing the young man’s face into a pool of his own blood.

“I’ve al­ready been ar­rested,” the man yelled as he cried for help. “Don’t do this, I’m beg­ging you.”

The scene, cap­tured Sun­day night by a cam­era­man from the Hong Kong Free Press, was jar­ring even in a city now ac­cus­tomed to week­ends awash with tear gas. It un­leashed a fresh wave of anger to­ward Hong Kong’s po­lice, and the gov­ern­ment, spurring thou­sands of demon­stra­tors to re­spond by oc­cu­py­ing the air­port.

Mean­while, f ears mounted that Bei­jing would soon re­sort to mil­i­tary ac­tion to quell the protests in the semi­au­tonomous ter­ri­tory. The na­tion­al­ist Global Times tabloid tweeted a video show­ing Chi­nese ar­mored per­son­nel car­ri­ers head­ing to­ward the south­ern city of Shen­zhen, which bor­ders Hong Kong, ahead of what the pa­per called “large-scale ex­er­cises” by the Peo­ple’s Armed Po­lice, a para­mil­i­tary unit.

In the ac­com­pa­ny­ing story, the news­pa­per elab­o­rated: “The tasks and mis­sions of the Armed Po­lice in­clude par­tic­i­pat­ing in deal­ing with re­bel­lions, ri­ots, se­ri­ous vi­o­lent and il­le­gal in­ci­dents, ter­ror­ist at­tacks and other so­cial se­cu­rity in­ci­dents.”

China’s state broad­caster, CCTV, is­sued a com­men­tary Mon­day night head­lined: “Alert! There are signs of ter­ror­ism on the streets of Hong Kong.”

Ear­lier, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment depart­ment re­spon­si­ble for Hong Kong held its third news con­fer­ence in three weeks — hav­ing not held a brief­ing in the 22 years since Bri­tain re­turned the ter­ri­tory to the main­land — to con­demn the vi­o­lence.

“The rad­i­cal demon­stra­tors in Hong Kong have re­peat­edly at­tacked po­lice with ex­tremely dan­ger­ous tools in re­cent days, which con­sti­tutes a se­ri­ous vi­o­lent crime, and now they are de­scend­ing into ter­ror­ism,” said Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Ma­cao Af­fairs Of­fice in Bei­jing. It was the first time the of­fice had por­trayed the protests in Hong Kong as “ter­ror­ism.”

AN­THONY KWAN/GETTY

Pro­test­ers oc­cupy the ar­rival hall of the Hong Kong In­ter­na­tional Air­port dur­ing a demon­stra­tion on Mon­day. China is­sued warn­ings that de­scribed the protests as “ter­ror­ism.”

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