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Hong Kong protests continue despite thwarted airport demonstration

Tight security at Hong Kong airport amid

Hong Kong police thwarted another disruption at the airport by pro-democracy activists but had to battle protesters at subway stations on Saturday, as the months-long unrest showed no signs of abating even after the government offered a concession days earlier. Police mounted road checks and inspected passengers on trains and buses heading to the airport to weed out protesters.

Several hundred angry protesters, many in masks, converged at a subway station in the Tung Chung area adjacent to the airport. They chanted slogans and called police "murderers" amid widespread anger over alleged brutality against demonstrators during three months of protests in the city that have become increasingly violent.

Shops were shuttered and the station was shut down in the evening as the mood grew tense. Protesters spilled onto the street after riot police with batons confronted them, with several people detained.

Hong Kong's airport, the world's eighth busiest, has been a frequent target during a summer of protests sparked by an extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. Many saw the bill as a glaring example of the Chinese territory's eroding autonomy since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced Wednesday that her government would withdraw the bill, but that failed to appease protesters who have expanded their goals to include other issues.

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Riot police patrol along a street during a protest in Mong Kok district in Hong Kong on September 7, 2019 in a bid to thwart plans by pro-democracy protesters to target the airport in the movement's first mass mobilization since the city's leader made a surprise concession earlier this week. Philip Fong / AFP/Getty Images

The airport rail link was suspended last weekend after protesters threw objects on the track, blocked roads near the airport and damaged a nearby subway station. Last month, the airport was shut down for two days after protesters occupied the terminals, leading to violent clashes.

Airport operations ran normally Saturday following the security operation, although some travelers complained they had to get to the airport early.

Police reiterated in a statement Saturday that there had been no deaths since the protests began in early June. It said online rumors of deaths were malicious and aimed at sowing deeper division in society.

The protests show no signs of receding, with plans to march to the U.S. Embassy on Sunday to drum up international support.

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