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Normal operations resume at busy Hong Kong airport as protesters apologize


Travelers wait at the airport departure hall in Hong Kong on Wednesday. (Vincent Thian/AP)

Protesters in Hong Kong apologized to travelers as its busy international airport resumed normal operations on Wednesday following two days of disruptions.

More than 100 flights had been canceled due to the mass demonstration, but check-in counters were back open. About three dozen pro-democracy protesters remained.

“It is not our intention to cause delays to your travels and we do not want to cause inconvenience to you,” read an emailed statement from a group of protesters. “We ask for your understanding and forgiveness as young people in Hong Kong continue to fight for freedom and democracy.”

Airport officials said it obtained an “interim injunction” that would “restrain persons from unlawfully and willfully obstructing or interfering” with operations.

Five people had been arrested at the airport on Tuesday night following some bursts of violence. Assistant Commissioner of Police Operations Mak Chin-ho said the men were busted for illegal assembly.

“Hong Kong police have always facilitated peaceful and orderly protests over the years, but the extremely radical and violent acts have certainly crossed the line and are to be most severely condemned,” Mak said. “The police pledge to all citizens of Hong Kong that we will take steps to bring all culprits to justice.”

Life imprisonment is a possible punishment for people who commit violence or interfere with flight safety at an airport, according to Hong Kong law.

More than 700 protesters have been arrested since early June. Many Hong Kong residents are upset with what they believe is an erosion of the freedoms they were promised two decades ago when mainland China took over what had been a British colony.

More than 74 million people pass through the airport each year.

With News Wire Services