Hong Kong police used tear gas on thousands of peaceful demonstrators calling for a democratic election of city leaders without the interference from China.
The fumes sent a crowd fleeing from police Sunday night, but most returned to continue the protest in the busy financial district.
Originally begun by students authorities have been trying to disperse the demonstration since Friday. China says the protest is “illegal” and at least 78 demonstrators have been arrested. All but three have been released.
However the sit-in appeared to keep growing over the weekend, clogging streets in the middle of the financial hub. Demonstrators are carrying umbrellas to deflect police pepper spray, the Daily News reported.
Many have taken to social media to share images of the confrontation under the hashtags #Occupy and #OccupyCentral.
Hong Kong “has changed to a new era so the people have to be awakened. It’s no longer the old Hong Kong,” said protester W.T. Chung, 46, who yelled at officers after they gassed the crowd.
“Shame on C.Y. Leung,” chanted the crowd. Chief Executive Leung is Hong Kong’s unpopular Beijing-backed chief administrator.
“The police are determined to handle the situation appropriately in accordance with the law,” Leung told a news conference.
He said the city is "resolute in opposing the unlawful occupation."
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Pasu Au Yeung