Here are key dates in Hong Kong`s pro-democracy movement this year, leading up to mass protests that have brought tens of thousands onto the streets to demand fully free elections:
June 4: Tens of thousands gather in Hong Kong to remember the dead on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, the only major commemoration in China as authorities clamp tight security on Beijing.
June 10: Beijing issues a "White Paper" on Hong Kong which, according to democracy campaigners, shows that the city`s much-cherished freedoms could be revoked at any time.
June 30: The results of an unofficial referendum organised by the protest group Occupy Central show that nearly 800,000 votes are cast in favour of greater democratic freedoms than Beijing has proposed.
July 1: An annual march that organisers say attracted half a million people -- the largest demonstration since Hong Kong was handed over from Britain to China in 1997 -- demands democratic reforms.
August 18: Tens of thousands of people, some waving Chinese flags, mount a counter-protest against the pro-democracy campaign.
August 31: China insists on its right to choose candidates for the leadership of Hong Kong in 2017 elections, when for the first time the city`s voters rather than a nominating committee will elect the leader. In response, Occupy Central and others vow to embark on an "era of civil disobedience" including mass sit-ins.
September 22: University students begin a week-long boycott of classes to protest Beijing`s refusal to grant the city full universal suffrage.
September 26: Around 150 protesters storm government headquarters and occupy a courtyard in the complex. Police use pepper spray to repel them. Protesters use their now emblematic umbrellas to protect themselves.
September 28: Riding the momentum of the student protest, Occupy Central unexpectedly announces that its long-expected civil disobedience campaign to push for full democracy has begun, later blocking a major street near government headquarters.
In the late afternoon, police fire tear gas to try to disperse protesters.
Crowd numbers swell with many apparently moved to join the protest in anger at the police action.
October 1: Tens of thousands join the protest on a public holiday to mark Communist China`s National Day.