30 November 2014
Last updated at 22:48
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists have clashed with police as they tried to surround the government’s headquarters.
Protesters carrying umbrellas, symbols of their movement, fought police armed with pepper spray and batons.
The protests were stepped up after police began demolishing one of several camps occupied by the activists during two months of demonstrations.
They want Hong Kong people to be allowed to choose their leaders without interference from Beijing.
The Chinese government has said it will allow universal suffrage for the region’s elections in 2017 but will screen candidates in advance.
The unrest comes as China said it would not allow a UK parliamentary committee to enter Hong Kong as part of an inquiry into British relations with its former colony.
There were reports of 40 arrests during the clashes
Student leaders have called for an escalation of the protests
Police used pepper spray to disperse protesters
Umbrellas have become a symbol of the pro-democracy campaign
The protests began with a rally on Sunday evening, as student leaders told crowds they would escalate their campaign.
Police charged at the protesters, attempting to beat them back as they poured into a major road near the offices of Chief Executive CY Leung.
“The action was aimed at paralysing the government’s operation,” student leader Alex Chow said, quoted by the Associated Press.
“The government has been stalling… and we believe we need to focus pressure on the government headquarters, the symbol of the government’s power.”
However, police said they were determined to clear the road.
Last week more than 100 people were arrested as a camp in the Mong Kok commercial district was dismantled.
Hong Kong democracy timeline
- 1984: Britain and China sign an agreement where Hong Kong is guaranteed “a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs” for 50 years following the handover in 1997.
- June-July 2014: Pro-democracy activists hold an unofficial referendum on political reform and a large rally. This is followed by protests by pro-Beijing activists.
- 31 August 2014: China says it will allow direct elections in 2017, but voters will only be able to choose from a list of pre-approved candidates. Activists stage protests.
- 22 September 2014: Student groups launch a week-long boycott of classes in protest.
- 28 September 2014: Occupy Central and student protests join forces and take over central Hong Kong.
- October 2014: Chief Executive CY Leung refuses demands for his resignation. Discussions between government and student leaders go nowhere. High court begins granting injunctions to clear protest sites.
- 15 November 2014: Student leaders’ attempt to travel to Beijing fails.
- 18 November 2014: Bailiffs move in to clear a portion of the Admiralty protest site.
- 26 November: More than 100 arrests during clearance of Mong Kok site.
- 2017: Direct elections for chief executive due to take place