Protesters of all ages have shut down Hong Kong's airport today, one of the busiest in the world. More democracy protests are planned for this weekend. Some protests have turned violent and several governments are warning their citizens about travel there. (Youtube-via CBC)

Canada issues travel warning about Hong Kong

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The protests in Hong Kong are continuing with an uncertain security situation. Canada has just joined other nations in issuing a warning to all citizens thinking of travelling there.

The Canadian government has four levels of travel concerns, ranging from normal to “avoid completely” travel to a location. Yesterday the advisory level was increased to the second level, “exercise a high degree of caution”.

That level of advisory notes, “There are identifiable safety and security concerns or the safety and security situation could change with little notice. You should exercise a high degree of caution at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities”.

June 2019. Protesters in the hundreds of thousands have blocked streets. Initially against the extradition bill proposed by Chief Executive Carrie Lam (seen on first placard), the movement has evolved into more of a pro-democracy reform movement. Thomas Peter-Reuters)

Canada has now joined the U.S, Australia, Ireland, Britain, Singapore and Japan which have issued travel warnings regarding Hong Kong.

The demonstrations began on June 9, over proposed legislation allowing for suspects to be extradited to mainland China, and have not abated.

Police have arrested almost 600 people ranging in age from 13 to 76 on charges related to rioting which can carry heavy jail sentences of up to 10 years.

This week protests and a strike blocked public transit bringing most commercial activity to a standstill and today the airport is occupied.

Although initially a protest against the extradition bill, it seems nowto have expanded into more of a pro-democracy movement.

Police push back against protesters in a July protest. Although mostly peaceful, several of the many ongoing demonstrations have seen clashes with police, tear gas, batons, even rubber-bullets. Foreign governments are saying the protests can occur seemingly spontaneously and may be difficult to avoid, hence the travel warnings (Tyrone Siu-Reuters)

China’s reaction to date has been somewhat muted, although claiming the demostrations have been inflamed by politicians in the U.S., Taiwan, and other western countries.

How long that reaction may remain muted is another question after a Chinese official, Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said, “”Let’s do as a loving mother does to take the inexplicably angry child home”.

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