Fresh Clashes in Hong Kong as Pro-Democracy Activists Regroup

A pro-democracy activist shouts slogans on a street near the government headquarters where protesters have made camp, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 in Hong Kong. Holiday crowds swelled into the tens of thousands as student leaders met with other pro-democracy protesters Wednesday to thrash out a strategy for handling the government's rejection of their demands that the city's top leader resign and Beijing revise its plans to limit political reforms. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
A pro-democracy activist shouts slogans on a street near the government headquarters where protesters have made camp, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 in Hong Kong. Holiday crowds swelled into the tens of thousands as student leaders met with other pro-democracy protesters Wednesday to thrash out a strategy for handling the government's rejection of their demands that the city's top leader resign and Beijing revise its plans to limit political reforms. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Clare Baldwin and James Pomfret, REUTERS

(Reuters)—Hong Kong riot police used pepper spray and baton charged crowds of pro-democracy protesters on Friday evening as tension escalated after a pre-dawn clearance of a major protest zone in the Chinese-controlled financial hub.

Crowds of protesters headed to the gritty and congested Mong Kok district after work and school on Friday evening, across the harbour from the heart of the civil disobedience movement near government headquarters, to try to reclaim sections of an intersection that police had cleared in a surprise raid early on Friday.

Hundreds of protesters tried to break through police lines and they used open umbrellas to shield themselves from pepper spray. In the melee, police used batons and scuffled violently with activists.

Police hauled off several protesters as others shouted insults and chanted “open the road.”

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