Protesters disrupt train services, causing commuter chaos

July 30, 2019 15:50
Anti-government protesters wearing helmets are seen inside a commuter train during the morning rush hour in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Hundreds of protesters blocked train services during the early morning rush hour in Hong Kong on Tuesday, causing commuter chaos in the latest anti-government campaign to roil the city, Reuters reports.

Activists blocked train doors, playing havoc with services and forcing hundreds of people to stream out of railway stations in search of alternative transport, the report said.

“It’s not our intention to inconvenience people, but we have to make the authorities understand why we protest. We will continue with this as long as need," a 21-year-old masked protester who identified herself as Sharon told Reuters.

Others chanted, “Liberate Hong Kong,” and “Revolution of our Time”.

By mid-morning commuters were crammed into stations across the city, waiting to board trains that were badly delayed, with no service on some lines.

Some scuffles broke out between commuters and protesters, who gradually began to disperse, while more police were deployed in train stations, where they stopped protesters to search their bags.

Rail operator MTR Corp urged people to seek other forms of transport.

Transport Secretary Frank Chan called on protesters to stop targeting a rail network that provides transport to five million people daily, public broadcaster RTHK reported.

The latest protest follows a demonstration at Hong Kong's international airport on Friday and violent protests at the weekend when activists clashed with police who fired rubber bullets, tear gas and sponge grenades.

Hong Kong is embroiled in its worst political crisis for decades after two months of increasingly violent protests that have posed one of the gravest populist challenges to the establishment.

What started three months ago as rallies against an extradition bill has now morphed into a wider backlash against the city’s government and its political masters in Beijing, Reuters noted.

China on Monday reiterated its support for Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, and its police and urged citizens to oppose violence.

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