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HONG KONG — Pro-democracy protesters clashed with police Monday as they tried to surround Hong Kong government headquarters to revitalize their flagging movement for democratic reforms after camping out on the city's streets for more than two months. Repeating scenes that have become familiar since the movement began in late September, protesters carrying umbrellas — which have become symbols of the pro-democracy movement — battled police armed with pepper spray, batons and riot shields.
After student leaders told a big crowd rallying Sunday evening at the main protest site outside government headquarters that they would escalate their campaign, hundreds of protesters pushed past police lines on the other side of the complex from the protest site. They blocked traffic on a main road, but were stopped by police barricades from going down a side road to Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying's office. The protesters, many wearing surgical masks, hard hats and safety goggles and chanting, "I want true democracy," said they wanted to occupy the road to prevent Leung and other government officials from getting to work in the morning. At one point, police charged the crowd, aggressively pushing demonstrators back with pepper spray and batons, after some protesters started pelting them with water bottles and other objects. Police later fell back, letting demonstrators re-occupy the road. At dawn, police charged again and cleared the protesters from some areas around the government headquarters.
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