Hong Kong’s leader has warned protesters that their violence has left the city teetering on the edge of an “abyss”.
In an emotional appeal, Carrie Lam begged thousands of anti-government activists occupying the airport to leave after flights were seriously disrupted for a second day.
But the unrest, now in its 10th week, showed no sign of easing – and there were ugly scenes as riot police clashed with the crowds.
Scuffles broke out after paramedics took an injured person out of the main terminal.
Protesters barricaded passageways with luggage trolleys and blocked police vehicles.
Riot officers then moved in, pushing people back and using pepper spray.
Chief executive Lam said: “Violence, no matter if it’s using violence or condoning violence, will push Hong Kong down a path of no return, will plunge Hong Kong society into a very worrying and dangerous situation.
“Take a minute to think, look at our city, do you all really want to see it pushed into an abyss?”
China has said the situation is showing “sprouts of terrorism” but Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last British governor, warned intervention would be catastrophic.
The protests began over a proposed extradition bill, now suspended, and have evolved into a broader pro-democracy movement.
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Ms Lam said the city has suffered “damage” caused by the “illegal activities” of protesters.
But the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, urged restraint amid criticism of the response. She said: “Officials can be seen firing tear gas canisters into crowded, enclosed areas and directly at individuals, creating a risk of death or serious injury.”
One airport protester wore a mock bloody eye patch yesterday, referencing a woman who was blinded as police fired non-lethal rounds.
Meanwhile, British rockers The Vamps were delayed at the airport for 24 hours and forced to change tour dates.
But guitarist James McVey said: “We are pro-democracy and pro-protest. We’re fine to sleep on the floor if it means people’s rights are listened to.”