HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong's airport, one of the world's busiest, has canceled all remaining flights for the day after thousands of pro-democracy protesters crowded into the main terminal.
Hong Kong International Airport said in a statement Monday afternoon that the demonstration "seriously disrupted" airport operations. It said all check-in services for departing flights had been suspended. It said only those flights that have already completed the check-in process will move ahead.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong police defended their use of force against protesters during another weekend of violent clashes, including using tear gas inside a train station, deploying officers disguised as protesters and allegedly shooting at demonstrators at close range with pepper-spray pellets.
The police attempted to fend off criticism Monday about widely shared videos from Sunday night's clashes, including graphic images of a woman who was shot in the eye and of an arrest in which officers dressed like protesters pinned a bleeding demonstrator to the ground.
Deputy Commissioner Tang Ping-keung acknowledged that police use decoy officers in some operations but would not go into details.
"Our decoy officers do not take part in any unlawful activities," Tang insisted.
Police confirmed that officers fired one shot of tear gas into a train station Sunday, saying it was necessary to disperse violent protesters. Addressing criticism of riot police firing pepper spray pellets at close range, officials said the weapon was not lethal but they would review the incident.
They said they were still gathering evidence about whether a young female protester who was pictured with a bleeding eye was hit by police.
Hong Kong has experienced more than two months of mass protests calling for democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into police conduct. The protest movement's demands also include the resignation of the Chinese territory's leader and an election for her successor.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997 under the "one country, two systems" principle.
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