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Police blast Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrators with tear gas

After days of pro-democracy protests outside government headquarters, Hong Kong police on Sunday bombarded protesters with tear gas and pepper spray in an attempt to disperse the crowd. The escalation came after police blocked entrance points to the main demonstration site, leading protesters to spill onto a six-lane highway and block traffic.

Thousands of demonstrators — their ranks at times swelling into the tens of thousands — camped outside the government complex through the weekend as part of the Occupy Central movement. The campaign is protesting restrictions China imposed on the first ever election to choose Hong Kong's leader, which is to be held in 2017.

Here's what the crowd looked like as of Saturday night:

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#456193864 / gettyimages.com

China condemned the demonstration, with a spokesperson saying activists were "damaging rule of law and social order."