Hong Kong's business district was brought to a standstill by tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters who defied police orders to disperse.

Riot police attacked the unarmed crowd with tear gas and batons. The police said they had used "bare minimum force," while local government officials called for calm and asked protesters to leave peacefully.

Police fire tear gas as Occupy Central protests take over Hong Kong. Read more here.

The protesters are students and members a pro-democracy movement — Occupy Central — who object to the Chinese government's plans to control the selection process for Hong Kong's 2017 leadership elections by allowing only votes for pre-approved candidates.

After a week of clashes, the protesters have shown no sign of moving, and are engaged in a battle of wills with Beijing, which fears similar demonstrations breaking out on the mainland if the Hong Kong demonstrations are not dealt with swiftly.

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