What Is The Umbrella Movement?

A crippling strike by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong has led to the cancellation of about 200 flights and the shutting down of one of the airport's runways as aviation workers left their jobs to join the protests. Chief Executive Carrie Lam has warned that the protesters were walking down a "dangerous path" amid fears that the Chinese army may step in to suppress the protests, which have often turned violent.

Eight trains, including the airport express were affected as protesters blocked the entrances and held them open to prevent the trains from moving. Passengers trying to get to their destinations clashed with the strikers.

Joining the protests were civil servants, social workers, pilots, flight attendants, bus drivers and even employees of Hong Kong's Disneyland. In addition to paralyzing the city's trains and airports, the protesters blocked traffic in the streets causing some jams until the streets could be cleared.

hong Kong umbrella
25 November 2014: Police officers use pepper spray as they clash with pro-democracy protesters outside Hong Kong's government complex Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The two-month long protests over an extradition treaty began on June 12 when the Hong Kong Police Force used rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters. This re-ignited accusations of excessive force by the police. The accusations seemed to mirror the criticism toward police from a 2014 protest called the Umbrella Revolution over proposed changes to Hong Kong's electoral system.

The latest protests have left the streets empty according to Al Jazeera reporter Andrew Thomas who said, "This is a city where there's very little, it feels anyway, economic activity going on at the moment."

One of the protestors' demands is that Carrie Lam step down from her position as the leader of Hong Kong. Some view her as a "puppet" to mainland China to which she responded to in a recent interview with BBC, where she said, "To say that I am just a puppet, that I won this election because of pro-Beijing forces, is a failure to acknowledge what I have done in Hong Kong over the last 36 years."

Lam held a press conference Monday where she said that the protests "challenge 'one country, two systems' and threaten Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. The government will be resolute in maintaining law and order of Hong Kong and restoring confidence."

The "dangerous path" Lam referred to may refer to the Chinese option of deploying a garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to quell the violence that the Hong Kong police have been unable to do. On the other hand, the protestors having failed to get the response they want from Beijing, seem to be trying out different methods of civil disobedience that will cause more chaos in the former British colony.

This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.