Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that “lawbreaking activities in the name of freedom” were damaging the rule of law and that the Asian financial hub’s recovery from anti-government protests could take a long time.
Her comments come after China said the anti-government protests that have swept the city over the past two months had begun to show “sprouts of terrorism”.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s airport reopened on Tuesday but its administrator warned that flight movements would still be affected, after China said protests that have swept the city over the past two months had begun to show the “sprouts of terrorism”.
Some flights resumed but many others were cancelled. Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific said it had cancelled more than 200 flights into and out of the airport on Tuesday, according to its website.
The airport, one of the world’s busiest, blamed demonstrators for halting flights on Monday. The exact trigger for the closure was not clear because protesters occupying the arrivals hall since Friday have been peaceful.
The airport was the latest focus of protests that began two months ago. The sometimes violent protests began as opposition to a now-suspended bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China but have grown into wider calls for democracy.
The protests have plunged the Chinese-ruled territory into its most serious crisis in decades, presenting Chinese leader Xi Jinping with one of his biggest challenges since he came to power in 2012.
Analysts said the disruptions and protests in Hong Kong were unsettling Asian stock markets, and the Hang Seng index opened 1.1% lower on Tuesday.
Embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday the “lawbreaking activities in the name of freedom” were damaging the rule of law and that it could take a long time for the city to recover from the protests.