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Monday August 19th, 2019 4:52AM

The Latest: UN rights chief condemns Hong Kong violence

By The Associated Press
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HONG KONG (AP) — The Latest on Hong Kong protests (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

The United Nations' top human rights official has condemned violence in Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests and called on the authorities and protesters to solve their dispute peacefully.

A spokesman for U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said she was concerned by the recent "escalation of violence."

Rupert Colville said the UN Human Rights Office had also reviewed credible evidence that police are using "less-lethal weapons in ways that are prohibited by international norms."

Tactics by Hong Kong police have become a major issue for protesters.

The rights office urged Hong Kong authorities to investigate examples of officers firing tear gas canisters into crowded, enclosed areas and directly at individual protesters.

___

5:45 p.m.

Hong Kong's airport has cancelled all remaining departing flights for the second day after protesters took over the terminals.

The airport authority announced early Tuesday evening that check-in services for departing flights were suspended as of 4:30 p.m. Other departing flights that have completed the process will continue to operate.

It said it did not expect arriving flights to be affected, though dozens of arriving flights were already cancelled.

The authority advised the public not to come to the airport.

Some flights were able to depart and land earlier Tuesday, a day after more than 200 flights were canceled.

The airport's arrival and departure halls were blocked by thousands of protesters who were gathered in the airport for the fifth consecutive day. They are calling for democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.

___

4 p.m.

Thousands of protesters have returned to the Hong Kong airport and are once more threatening regular airline operations just one day after they prompted a full shutdown of one of the world's busiest transit hubs.

After filling up the arrivals hall, demonstrators are now streaming into the departures area despite increased security measures designed to keep them out.

The black-clad protesters held up signs to appeal to travelers from mainland China and other parts of the world. "Democracy is a good thing," said one sign in Simplified Chinese characters, which are used in mainland China instead of the Traditional Chinese script of Hong Kong.

One entrance to the immigration area was entirely blocked by protesters and arriving passengers struggled to get through.

More than 100 flights were cancelled as of Tuesday afternoon. Some flights were taking off and going through check-in as airlines worked through the backlog.

___

2:45 p.m.

Flights have been taking off from the Hong Kong airport as it works through a backlog of cancelled flights while a few thousand protesters have once again occupied the arrival hall.

Some flights Tuesday were still cancelled. It was not immediately clear whether they were affected by the current demonstration, as occurred Monday, when about 200 flights were cancelled and airport completely shut down amid a mass protest.

The airport authority said they were implementing flight rescheduling Tuesday. The authority urged passengers "to use public transportation and allow sufficient time to go to the airport."

Hong Kong has seen two months of anti-government demonstrations that have increasingly impacted day-to-day operations in the financial hub.

___

10:30 a.m.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has defended law enforcement actions after protesters prompted an airport shutdown with calls to investigate alleged police brutality.

Airlines early Tuesday were checking in passengers for flights, including those cancelled the previous day because thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators had packed into the airport's main terminal.

Demonstrators have called for an independent inquiry into what they call the police's abuse of power and negligence. Some protesters thrown bricks, eggs and flaming objects at police stations.

Lam told reporters that dialogue would only begin when the violence stopped. She reiterated her support for the police and said they have had to make on-the-spot decisions under difficult circumstances, using "the lowest level of force."

___

8 a.m.

One of the world's busiest airports was struggling to reopen the morning after thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators crowded into Hong Kong's main terminal and forced flight cancellations.

Passengers were checking in for flights Tuesday morning in a sign operations were returning to normal, although protesters have shown no sign of letting up on their campaign to force Chief Executive Carrie Lam's administration to respond to their demands.

About 200 flights had been canceled.

Passengers unable to leave on Monday were among those crowding in the departure hall.

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