HK pro-democracy protesters dig in

HONG KONG – Thousands of pro-democracy protesters have massed outside Hong Kong’s government headquarters, vowing to keep up an increasingly tense civil disobedience campaign unless Beijing grants more political freedoms.

Defiant protesters, almost all wearing convenience store-bought ponchos and eye protection in anticipation of police using pepper spray, were on Saturday night dug in outside the complex where 74 people have been arrested.

Lines of police officers pushed back surges of people with riot shields after earlier clearing dozens who had stormed into the grounds late on Friday, as a week-long protest against Beijing’s refusal to grant the city unfettered democracy turned angry.

Many in the largely youthful crowd, which had swelled to several thousand with a number of scuffles breaking out with police, pledged to keep the protest open-ended unless Hong Kong was granted more freedoms.