By Poloko Mokhele

The Embassy of Lesotho in Beijing on Wednesday issued a travel warning over Hong Kong’s ongoing protests, which have at times turned violent and seen parts of the city brought to a standstill.

The embassy warned Lesotho citizens to exercise caution when travelling to Hong Kong.

The financial hub has been rocked by over two months of unrest, initially triggered by opposition to a planned law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

“The general strikes and protests have spread and have spilled over into Hong Kong International Airport, such that several airlines have suspended flights,” the embassy said in a statement.

“All citizens are therefore advised to use other routes until the situation is normal,” it added.

Similar warnings have been issued by other countries including Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan and Singapore.

Although the warnings recommend travellers exercise a high degree of caution, countries are not yet advising visitors to avoid Hong Kong altogether.

For the past nine weeks, Hong Kong has been rocked by large-scale and sometimes violent protests that were sparked by a now-shelved bill that would have allowed people in the city to be extradited to China.

The demonstrations – which have shown no sign of abating – have evolved to include a range of demands, including greater democracy and an inquiry into alleged police brutality.

Images of clashes between masked protesters and police firing tear gas in Hong Kong’s streets have made global headlines, and on Tuesday last week China gave its sternest warning yet to the pro-democracy demonstrators.

South African Airways on Monday and Tuesday (SAA) cancelled its flights as tensions swelled between protestors and police officials in the Chinese-led territory. NW

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