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Pro-democracy protests expanded in Hong Kong on Monday, a day after demonstrators upset over Beijing's decision to limit political reforms defied onslaughts of tear gas and appeals from Hong Kong's top leader to go home.
"I hope the public will keep calm. Don't be misled by the rumors. Police will strive to maintain social order, including ensuring smooth traffic and ensuring the public safety," said the Beijing-backed Leung, who is deeply unpopular. He added, "When they carry out their duties, they will use their maximum discretion."
The mass protest is the strongest challenge yet to Beijing's decision to limit democratic reforms for the semi-autonomous city. On Monday demonstrators blocked additional roads in Mong Kok. Leung called on demonstrators to go home. "We don't want Hong Kong to be messy," Leung said as he read a statement that was broadcast early Monday.
That came hours after police lobbed canisters of tear gas into the crowd on Sunday evening. The searing fumes sent demonstrators fleeing, though many came right back to continue their protest. "This is a long fight. I hope the blockade will continue tomorrow, so the whole thing will be meaningful," said 19-year-old Edward Yau, 19, a business and law student. "The government has to understand that we have the ability to undo it if they continue to treat us like we are terrorists."