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Hong Kong Protesters Clash With Police


Police officers clash with protesters outside government headquarters in Hong Kong, Nov. 30, 2014.

Hundreds of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters have clashed with police while trying to expand their protests outside government headquarters.

Demonstrators stormed past police lines early Monday in a bid to occupy a major road in the Admiralty district. Hundreds of riot police armed with pepper spray and batons pushed back, injuring several protesters and arresting at least 18.

It was the latest in a series of small skirmishes between police and protesters in the past week. On Friday, authorities scuffled with student protesters while clearing barricades from a main road in the Mong Kok neighborhood. Several protesters were detained, including student leaders Lester Shum and Joshua Wong.

The protests have persisted since late September but have been dwindling. Several recent public opinion polls suggest the protests are beginning to lose public support.

The demonstrators have been calling for fully democratic elections in 2017. They took to the streets after China ruled in August that all candidates for Hong Kong's chief executive must first be approved by a committee that is stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists.

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 Hong Kong rallies drew more than 100,000 on to the streets at their peak.