More than 100 flights were cancelled in Hong Kong on Monday morning with airport authorities warning passengers of potential disruption, as pro-democracy protesters kick off a city-wide strike.
At least 105 flights were listed as cancelled on the airport’s departure page on Monday morning.
Hong Kong’s embattled leader warned on Monday that protests gripping the Asian financial centre are a challenge to China’s sovereignty as strikes crippled transport across the city and led to the cancellation of more than 200 flights.
Beijing-backed Carrie Lam addressed the media for the first time in two weeks after yet another weekend of violent protests and reiterated that the demonstrations were pushing the city to the verge of an “extremely dangerous situation”.
Ms. Lam again rejected calls from protesters for her to resign and said the government would be resolute in maintaining law and order. She warned the protests were putting Hong Kong on a path of no return and had hurt the city’s economy.
The Chinese-controlled city has been rocked by months of protests that began against an extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial and have since evolved into calls for greater democracy.
Commuters struggled to get to work in the Monday morning rush hour before Ms. Lam spoke, with many rail and bus services suspended, while some activists blocked trains from leaving stations in the latest anti-government campaign.
Long lines of traffic could be seen across Hong Kong island leading into the heart of the business centre and hundreds of people were stranded at the airport.
The Airport Express train service was also suspended.
Police arrested 44 people after sometimes violent clashes overnight when police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who moved swiftly across the city in flash mob-style actions.