A FAMILY holidaying in Hong Kong has faced a terrifying ordeal after being swept up in pro-democracy protests.

Alison Coatsworth from Evenwood, in County Durham, was travelling with her daughter Amy Coatsworth and her partner Mark Middleton when they were met by thousands of protestors standing at Hong Kong International Airport barrier.

Mrs Coatsworth said protestors were chanting about police brutality and officers using tear gas and firing rubber bullets at close range.

She said: “We were given lots of propaganda leaflets and protestors were very concerned for our welfare – they kept trying to help us to leave the airport.

“Taxis had stopped running and the trains into the city were hideously overcrowded and dangerous.

“Eventually one of the protestors led us back up against the flow of protestors and explained that we needed to travel away from the city and then took us back in again away from the airport.”

The Northern Echo: The scenes at Hong Kong International AirportThe scenes at Hong Kong International Airport

The protest followed more than two months of mass protests calling for democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into police conduct.

Hong Kong International Airport said in a statement that yesterday’s demonstration “seriously disrupted” airport operations.

In a statement Hong Kong's Airport Authority said they were cancelling all flights that were not yet checked in.

In Beijing, the Cabinet's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office issued a statement saying the situation in Hong Kong was "beginning to show the sprouts of terrorism" and constituted an "existential threat" to the population of Hong Kong.

The Northern Echo: Protest continues at Hong Kong International AirportProtest continues at Hong Kong International Airport

"One must take resolute action toward this violent criminality, showing no leniency or mercy," said the statement, attributed to spokesman Yang Guang.

"Hong Kong has reached an inflection point where all those who are concerned about Hong Kong's future must say 'no,' to law breakers and 'no' to those engaged in violence."

Only flights that had begun boarding or those cleared for landing were allowed to use runways whilst all other flights had been cancelled for the rest of the day.