HONG KONG - Hong Kong police baton-charged and pepper-sprayed thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators in the early hours of Monday who were trying to encircle government headquarters, defying orders to retreat after more than two months of protests.
The skirmishes were perhaps the most violent in recent weeks, with the protesters answering a call by two student groups leading the campaign to escalate their actions, after two months of stalemate in their push for full democracy.
The crowds, chanting "Surround government headquarters!" and "Open the road!", had blocked a major road running in front of the offices of Hong Kong's leader in the Admiralty district, next to Hong Kong's central business district, late on Friday.