Lam’s comments come as protest organizers called on supporters to return to the airport Tuesday, for what would be the fifth consecutive day of demonstrations at the aviation hub.
“We stayed here overnight because we want to show people it’s safe in the airport,” said one 23-year-old protester, Tuesday, one of around 30 demonstrators who had stayed in the arrivals hall overnight.
“We are expecting more people to join in in the afternoon and with enough people, we hope to paralyze the airport once again like we did yesterday,” added the protester, who would only give his first name, Pang.
World transport hub grounded
Last year, Hong Kong’s airport handled 74.7 million passengers
— an average of about 205,000 per day. But on Monday, the airport was brought to a standstill as protesters occupied parts of the airport.
Confused tourists were left unsure of what was happening as shops, restaurants and check-in counters closed. Trains and buses heading into the city were packed with people, and the one available information desk was helmed by frazzled looking staff.
Some travelers were pragmatic about the delays. Hayden Smyth, a tourist from Australia, said it was a “bit of a different welcome than I’m used to.”
But others were frustrated by the cancellations. “We love Hong Kong but it does change our whole perspective,” said Australian Kim Macaranas, whose flight was canceled Monday. “I understand the protests but this is not helping tourism.”
On Tuesday morning, disagreements broke out at the airport. Two men — one of whom was wearing a cap emblazoned with a Chinese flag — were seen arguing with protesters in the arrivals hall, before being ushered away by security as protesters cheered. Another passenger — who appeared to be from mainland China — told protesters that they were causing inconvenience for others.