Pro-democracy protesters vowed to continue their demonstration a day after Hong Kong saw one of its worst agitations in recent times. Demonstrators said that the violence will not stop until the city's top official steps down.
Massive crowd gathered on Sunday in support of a student-led protest that began on 26 September to oppose China's plan to control the city's election. On Monday, the riot police pulled back from the demonstrations a day after violence in the streets blocked traffic on key highways, and left more than 40 people injured, the CNN reports.
The decision to withdraw the police was justified by the government in a statement that said protesters were behaving peacefully. However, protesters have pointed out that the deadly unrest on Sunday followed the heavy-handed police tactics.
The biggest clashes in Hong Kong for decades saw anti-riot police using tear gas and pepper spray on demonstrators.
"I don't see the central government backing down from its position," Bloomberg quoted Bo Zhiyue, a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore's East Asian Institute. "If they admit they made a mistake in Hong Kong, maybe they also made a mistake elsewhere."
The government on Sunday urged the demonstrators to disperse to allow emergency vehicles and public transport to pass through, but various news organisations have noted that with thousands of demonstrators in key financial and commercial districts, it is unlikely that the massive protests would end anytime soon.
This follows a week of students-led boycotts and protests against what they see as an interference of Beijing on Hong Kong's governance. The protesters have been responding to China's decision to allow only those candidates that are approved by Beijing, to stand in the city's elections for chief executive, the city's top civil position.
"Our demands have not changed," pro-democracy activist and lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, known by many as "Long Hair", announced on a loudspeaker. "This is a peaceful civil disobedience protest."