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Tensions soar after night of clashes in Hong Kong

Update: December, 01/2014 - 10:31

HONG KONG — Police unleashed pepper spray and baton charges at students who tried to storm Hong Kong's government headquarters earlyon Monday, as tensions soared in the third month of protests.

With morning rush hour under way, fresh scuffles broke out between police and demonstrators at the main Admiralty protest site.

Tearful protesters were forced from the government site and roads were cleared for traffic, but government offices remained closed with the de facto parliament suspended.

Emotions continued to run high with clashes between police and protesters at a shopping arcade near the Admiralty site, with at least one person stretchered away, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

In chaotic scenes overnight, hundreds of protesters wearing helmets and wielding umbrellas spilled into a major road outside the office of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying as police tried to beat them back with batons and pepper spray.

Police said they had made 40 arrests overnight and 11 officers had been injured.

Several protesters were injured in the overnight clashes. One was seen led away by police with a bloodied face, while others were tended to by first-aid volunteers after being fired at with pepper spray.

Protesters wore builders' hard hats and used umbrellas – which have come to symbolise the pro-democracy movement – to shield themselves from the pepper spray.

Police had to dodge helmets and bottles that were lobbed through the air.

One officer was carted into the back of an ambulance on a stretcher.

The protests drew tens of thousands of people at times during their first weeks, but the numbers have dwindled as the movement's leaders struggle to keep up momentum. — AFP

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