IN PHOTOS: Chaos in Hong Kong
MANILA, Philippines – "This isn't Syria or Gaza. This is Hong Kong, our Hong Kong," said independent Hong Kong-based writer Jason Y Ng.
The pro-democracy protests – originally scheduled for Wednesday, October 1 – came a few days early, as activists and students stormed Hong Kong's streets near the government's central offices for hours. (LIVE BLOG: #OccupyCentral Hong Kong)
Police used tear gas to break up protest lines – a scene rarely seen in the semi-autonomous city. Hong Kong citizens say they want to have full powers in selecting their own leaders, but Beijing is not willing to grant them that.
Demonstrators took over Nathan Road and blocked other major thoroughfares in Hong Kong.
The protest is now known as #OccupyCentral. Tensions escalated and activists began chanting slogans for democracy and covering their eyes to protect themselves from the possibility of getting pepper sprayed or tear gassed.
See more dramatic photos of the protests in the slideshow below.