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33 Extraordinary Pictures Of Hong Kong's "Umbrella Revolution"

Umbrellas have become a powerful symbol of the territory's pro-democracy demonstrations, which are seeing tens of thousands of people take to the streets to protest against Beijing's decision to limit democratic reforms.

Posted on September 29, 2014, at 8:57 a.m. ET

Tens of thousands of masked, umbrella-wielding protesters have taken to the streets of Hong Kong over the last few days.

Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

They have defied calls to disperse as they express their indignation at Beijing's attempts to limit democratic reforms in the financial hub.

Carlos Barria / Reuters

Umbrellas are used by the protesters as a means of protecting themselves against tear gas and pepper spray.

Bobby Yip / Reuters

They have also used plastic wrap, surgical masks, and other improvised methods to shield themselves.

Bobby Yip / Reuters
Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

The umbrella is fast becoming the enduring symbol of the movement, which has been dubbed the Umbrella Revolution.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters
Tyrone Siu / Reuters
AP Photo/Wally Santana

Protesters are angry at Beijing's plan to vet candidates for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017.

Carlos Barria / Reuters

They are demanding a free choice for candidates when they vote for the territory's chief executive — something entirely ruled out by Beijing.

AP Photo/Wally Santana

On Sunday evening, police began starting throwing tear-gas canisters into the crowd.

AP Photo/Wally Santana
Stringer / Reuters

Police say they fired tear gas 87 times during the course of Sunday night's protests.

Anthony Kwan / Getty Images
Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

Some people were hospitalized...

Lam Yik Fei / Getty Images

...but large numbers of protesters continued to hold their ground.

Carlos Barria / Reuters

Protesters said they wanted the current chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, to ask Beijing for genuine democracy for the territory's voters.

DALE DE LA REY/AFP / Getty Images

Beijing has declared the protests illegal, and backed the Hong Kong government's crackdown.

AP Photo/Vincent Yu

Beijing has also warned other countries not to support the "illegal rallies", and will hope the movement does not embolden anti-government protests elsewhere in China.

AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File

The protests were spearheaded by students and university-age activists.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters

However, they have started gathering momentum across other sections of society.

Bobby Yip / Reuters

One man told the AFP news agency that protesters were growing more confident: "Police don't have enough officers to close down the districts where there are protests."

AP Photo/Wally Santana

Protests have focused on the financial Central district (below), but have also broken out in the Causeway Bay shopping district and caused a major roadblock across the bay in Mongkok.

Bobby Yip / Reuters
Bobby Yip / Reuters

Speaking to the media on Monday, Cheung Tak-keung of the Hong Kong police said his officers had used the "bare minimum force".

Anthony Kwan / Getty Images
Tyrone Siu / Reuters

He added that 41 people, including police officers, were injured during the previous three days.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters
Carlos Barria / Reuters

A number of protesters are camping out at night, with some sleeping on the ground and others on improvised barricades.

AP Photo/Wally Santana
AP Photo/Vincent Yu

Many have been camping near government headquarters as riot police stand guard.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters

China took control of the former British colony in 1997.

Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

It operated a policy of "one country, two systems," allowing Hong Kong a higher degree of autonomy and greater liberties than anything seen on the Chinese mainland.

The ability for Hong Kong's people to eventually choose their own leader through "universal suffrage" was also promised. The protesters accuse Beijing of failing to keep that promise.

DALE DE LA REY/AFP / Getty Images

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