In September 2014, pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong protested outside the government headquarters and occupied several major thoroughways and intersections.
They are protesting Beijing’s plan for electoral changes, which for the first time would let the public vote for the city’s Chief Executive, starting in 2017.
But critics say the plan would screen out candidates who do not have Beijing’s implicit blessing, ruling out genuine democracy for the forthcoming 2017 election.
Student groups first began protesting outside the government headquarters in the week of 22 September 2014.
In the evening of 26 September, a group of several hundred demonstrators breached a security barrier and entered the plaza in front of the government headquarter building.
They soon were cordoned off by police and blockaded overnight. Eventually, the event culminated in a stand-off, during which the police attempted to disperse protesters with shields, batons, pepper spray, and tear gas.
The resulting conflict, in which protesters were seen using umbrellas as flimsy shields against pepper spray, seemed to have generated a subsequent wave of protest in Central, Hong Kong’s main financial district.
Thousands of protesters in the district have defied government calls to abandon street blockades, and students from schools across Hong Kong have boycotted classes.
A government announcement that the riot police had been withdrawn from the protest centers also seemed to open the door to growing demonstrations.
Protesters camped out on the main thoroughfare leading into the city's central business district are well aware that the situation could turn violent at any time.
The demonstrators, bracing for the possibility of a police crackdown, have prepared masks, protective goggles and plastic raincoats.
One of the pro-democracy activist groups, Occupy Central, short for Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP), states that if its calls to reform the electoral process fail, then it is prepared to continue its civil disobedience.
The group has occupied the central business district by mustering thousands of protesters to sit in and peacefully block traffic.
The mostly student protesters now demand a full electoral reform and have called on Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down.
Chinese state media carried reports on Beijing's official response to the march, which was that the size of the protest would not change the central government's stance on Hong Kong's political arrangements.
On Monday the Hong Kong government canceled the city’s annual fireworks show to mark China’s National Day, which falls on Wednesday, 1 October.
Thus far, the government censors in Beijing have ordered websites in mainland China to delete any mention of the unrest.