Hong Kong police used pepper spray early on Thursday to stop pro-democracy protesters from blocking a major road near the office of the city`s embattled leader amid public anger over the police beating of a protester a day earlier.
Hong Kong protesters planned a fresh show of force with a major rally Friday after talks with the government dramatically collapsed, and as they won powerful new US backing in their campaign for free elections.
Crunch talks between Hong Kong`s democracy protesters and the government have been called off, just hours after demonstrators vowed to ratchet up their occupation of key parts of the city if their demands were not met.
Hong Kong called off talks with protesting students on Thursday, dealing a heavy blow to attempts to defuse a political crisis that has seen tens of thousands take to the streets to demand free elections and calling for leader Leung Chun-ying to resign.
Hong Kong`s embattled leader faced growing calls Thursday to explain why he kept large payments from an Australian company secret as democracy activists behind days of mass rallies vowed a "new wave" of civil disobedience.
Student-led protests for democratic reforms in Hong Kong shrank on Monday but a few hundred demonstrators remained camped out in the streets, vowing to keep up the pressure until the government responds to their demands.
Pro-democracy demonstrators stood divided Sunday over whether to withdraw from protest sites across Hong Kong, hours before a government deadline to clear key roads they have blockaded for the last week.
Raising the stakes in their standoff with the authorities, student leaders of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests warned they will step up their actions if the territory's top official doesn't resign by tomorrow, possibly occupying several important government buildings.
Nearly 1,000 Hong Kong secondary school pupils, some wearing uniforms, joined university students on Friday to bolster a days-long protest against Beijing`s refusal to grant the city unfettered democracy.
Hong Kong students gathered in the heart of the city for a second day on Wednesday ahead of a planned blockade of government buildings if the city`s leader fails to discuss their demands for free elections.
Scuffles broke out in Hong Kong on Tuesday as students took their pro-democracy protest to government headquarters and called on the city`s chief executive to honour his promise to listen to the people.