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Police step up presence after protesters target Hong Kong airport

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Police step up presence after protesters target Hong Kong airport
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REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
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After a night of violence in Hong Kong, protesters threatened to block one of the world's busiest airports on Saturday.

Authorities have implemented tight security measures at Hong Kong International Airport and its approaching roads in response.

Passengers have been required to present a boarding pass to enter the airport ever since mass demonstrations froze the area in mid-August.

Some passengers reported police were searching buses headed to the airport to check for protesters.

There were shouting matches outside of the transport-hub between law enforcement and people who wanted to pick up arriving family members.

On Friday night hundreds of demonstrators gathered at metro stations in response to televised scenes of police beating protesters on an underground train as they cowered on the floor. The videos circulated widely online and prompted five consecutive nights of protests.

Some protesters vandalised the area by occupying roads, spraying graffiti and setting self-made barricades on fire. They also threw bricks at police and smashed windows. Several stations were closed as a result. Police responded with tear gas and bean bad rounds.

Floral tributes were offered at Prince Edward MTR metro station, the place where the protesters were beaten.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam announced concessions this week to try to calm the relentless movement that has now lasted 14 weeks. Lam formally withdrew an extradition bill which sparked protests in the first place, but since then demands have broadened and many have said the move was too little, too late.

Protesters have four other demands as well, including an independent investigation into police brutality, rejecting the credibility of the independent police complaints council, the group Carrie Lam proposed to carry out the inquiry. The others are amnesty for arrested protesters, an end to categorising the protests as riots and the implementation of universal suffrage.

Last Sunday transport links were frozen by demonstrators which left travellers unable to catch their flights while prompting delays and cancellations.