2 LA women back home after witnessing pro-democracy protests at Hong Kong airport

Jessica De Nova Image
Thursday, August 15, 2019
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Two Southern California women caught in the chaos of pro-democracy demonstrations at Hong Kong's airport have returned home.

GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- Two Southern California women caught in the chaos of pro-democracy demonstrations at Hong Kong's airport returned home with a new view on American freedom.

Eveanna Manley and the other woman, who didn't want to be identified, were among the 300 people with cancelled flights on Monday and Tuesday.

Both women arrived to a crowded airport Monday.

"It was just mobs of people in black shirts as all the protesters are," the anonymous woman said.

"There were so many people there I could barely inch by," Manley said.

The two Americans were confused when they found their check-in counters abandoned.

"All the staff had left and we were just kind of randomly standing around like, 'What do we do now?'" Manley said.

The woman not wanting to be identified decided to get it all on her phone. Her video shows some of the messages she says protesters tried to peacefully explain.

"Typed and printed handouts that said that there had been five or six, I think, instances of police brutality as they were alleging it on Sunday night, and so they were there protesting against those instances from Sunday night," the anonymous woman said, adding, "they were so polite. They said, 'You know, we're so sorry for the inconvenience, we apologize, we hope you can still get out.' In general, they were very peaceful, pretty much just sitting down on the floor, once they could get in and find a seat."

Realizing they weren't getting on a plane that day, the women, once strangers, joined resources to get out.

"We shared the last Hong Kong dollars we had just to get back into the city," Manley said.

Both were able to return home the next day with a new outlook on American freedom.

"I think that it's so brave for the young people in Hong Kong to be doing what they're doing given the uncertainty," the anonymous person said.

"I support the people of Hong Kong. They're fighting for their freedom and they're fighting against oppression and you gotta love that. I wish the youth of our country would activate like they do. It was really a beautiful thing to see," Manley said.

Hong Kong law permits life imprisonment for those who commit violent attacks or acts that might interfere with flight safety at an airport.