Protesters in Hong Kong have clashed with police in a resurgence of the pro-democracy movement that rocked the city two months ago. Crowds converged on government headquarters before being pushed back by police.
Thousands of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists clashed with police early on Monday as they attempted to surround government headquarters, defying orders for protesters to retreat after more than two months of demonstrations.
The crowds chanted "Surround government headquarters!" and "Open the road!," made their way to buildings near Hong Kong's central business district.
Scores of protesters with wooden shields and metal barricades charged police as officers warned them to retreat. Police, who have been accused of using excessive force, struck demonstrators with batons and pushed them back.
Police used pepper spray in an attempt to disperse the protesters, dragging several to the ground before cuffing them with plastic ties and taking them away. Scores of demonstrators held up umbrellas, which have become a symbol of the pro-democracy movement, to protect themselves from the spray.
The activists tried to reclaim Lung Wo Road, a key thoroughfare in Admiralty district that police cleared more than a month ago during some of the most violent scenes since the demonstrations began in late September.
Demand for free elections
Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters are demanding free elections in 2017, in protest of a vote between pre-screened candidates that Beijing has said it will allow.
The democracy movement represents one of the biggest threats for China's Communist Party leadership since its bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy student protests in and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
The latest clashes underscore the challenges authorities face as a restive younger generation contests Beijing's grip on the financial hub and demands greater democracy.
Twenty-eight people were arrested in the unrest on Friday night and early Saturday in Mong Kok, which is packed with shops, street stalls, jewelry shops and restaurants.
The Hong Kong rallies drew more than 100,000 on to the streets at their peak. Numbers have since dwindled to a few hundred and public support for the movement has waned.
glb/shs (Reuters, AFP, dpa)