Update as of 4:24 a.m. EDT: Protesters grew in number across Hong Kong after riot police fell back Monday afternoon, the Wall Street Journal reported. The pro-democracy rally, which was greeted by police earlier with pepper spray and tear gas, spread to three city locations, the report added.
Update as of 1:24 a.m. EDT: Riot police in Hong Kong pulled back as the unrest surrounding the pro-democracy protests ebbed even as protesters remained on the streets in the city's financial hub, CNN reported Monday, citing the government.
In a statement, the government reportedly said that it had ordered riot police to withdraw because the protests had turned peaceful, and asked demonstrators to allow the passage of emergency vehicles, public transport and regular traffic. The statement came after some protest organizers asked protesters to return home, according to CNN.
Update as of 12:35 a.m. EDT: The United States, through its office of the consulate general for Hong Kong and Macau, weighed in on the ongoing protests in Hong Kong and called for restraint from everyone involved while adding that it would not side with anyone involved in the conflict.
"We do not take sides in the discussion of Hong Kong's political development, nor do we support any particular individuals or groups involved in it," a statement from the consulate general's office said, and called for a "a vigorous dialogue among its citizens" and "the peaceful and orderly expression of differing views."
The statement added that the U.S. encouraged "all sides to refrain from actions that would further escalate tensions, to exercise restraint, and to express views on the SAR's political future in a peaceful manner."
Update as of 12:05 a.m. EDT: At least 41 people were reportedly injured as riot police used tear gas and pepper spray to quell protests in the streets of Hong Kong late on Sunday. Hong Kong police have so far arrested 78 people, according to media reports. The riot police have been withdrawn even as thousands of protesters continued to throng the city’s streets on Monday morning, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.
At least 38 people were injured and taken to hospitals a day after tens of thousands of people joined the Occupy Central protest in Hong Kong, CNN reported Sunday. As demonstrators protested for a more democratic government, police unleashed pepper spray and tear gas.
Live stream footage of the movement can be seen below, courtesy of Ustream:
One student group feared rubber bullets would be used by police and asked demonstrators to leave. But not all protest leaders were ready to let pro-democracy activists go home. Leung Kwok-hung, who is also known as "Long Hair," cheered on those who stayed, CNN wrote. "Our demands have not changed. This is a peaceful civil disobedience protest," he reportedly said.
The umbrella has turned into a symbol of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central protest. Demonstrators used them for protection, along with goggles and cellophane masks, after authorities used tear gas and pepper spray on pro-democracy demonstrators, Yahoo News Digest wrote.
The movement resulted in Standard Chartered PLC closing some of its Hong Kong banking operations due to "situations in certain areas,” Reuters reported. This included over-the-counter services and check deposits, the Asia-focused lender said. Contingency plans were put in place so customers would still receive continuous service, but services including ATMs and cash deposits were suspended temporarily in branches in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island and Nathan Road in Kowloon, Reuters said.
The protest has a strong presence on Twitter. Thousands of people have taken to the social media site to discuss Occupy Central.
"Hong Kong is not just another Chinese city" Let them choose #HongKongProtests
— Minwoo Nam (@minwoonam17) September 29, 2014
— Sushobhan (@sushobhan) September 28, 2014
I stand with our sisters and brothers in #HongKongProtests! Stay strong! Stay safe!
— Jacqueline Simonds (@GrumpyDem) September 28, 2014
The movement erupted after the government refused to allow citizens to choose their future leader. "It's high time that we really showed that we want to be free and not to be slaves. ... We must unite together," Cardinal Joseph Zen, 82, former Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong, told Reuters. About 80,000 people have gathered, making it one of the largest protests since China took back the British colony two decades ago.
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