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Riot police are using pepper spray and batons to clear a sit-in at Hong Kong’s airport in an attempt to break up a sustained protest that has caused travel chaos there. The two-day demonstration at one of the world’s busiest hubs has caused extensive flight cancellations as demonstrators seek to draw attention to their anger at what they have described as China’s encroachment on the island territory’s autonomy.

The protest movement began in June with massive street demonstrations and has since grown to include labor strikes and travel disruptions. China has also escalated its response to the demonstrations, labeling them “terrorism” and suggesting it would take an active role in quelling the unrest. Beijing has said that if Hong Kong made the request, it would mobilize People’s Liberation Army troops to restore order to the city.

The political crisis, touched off by a now-suspended proposal to allow extraditions to the mainland, has grown as protesters demand the bill’s full withdrawal, an independent inquiry into police actions toward protesters, greater democracy and an amnesty for those arrested in clashes between demonstrators and police.

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