Thousands of pro-democracy protesters thronged the streets of Hong Kong on Wednesday, some of them jeering National Day celebrations, as demonstrations spread to a new area of the city, ratcheting up pressure on its pro-Beijing government.
There was little sign of momentum flagging on the fifth day of the mass campaign, whose aim has been to occupy sections of the city and express fury at a Chinese decision to limit voters' choices in a 2017 leadership election.
Many had feared police would use force to move crowds before Wednesday's start to celebrations marking the anniversary of the Communist Party's foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Those fears proved unfounded.
The crowds have brought large sections of the Asian financial hub to a standstill, disrupting businesses from banks to jewelers. Overnight thunderstorms failed to dampen spirits and the protesters woke to blue skies on Wednesday.
Riot police had used tear gas, pepper spray and baton charges at the weekend to try to quell the unrest but tensions have eased since then as both sides appeared prepared to wait it out, at least for now.
Protests spread from four main areas to Tsim Sha Tsui, a shopping area popular with mainland Chinese visitors. It would usually do roaring trade during the annual National Day holiday.
Underlining nervousness among some activists that provocation on National Day could spark violence, protest leaders urged crowds not to disturb the flag-raising ceremony on the Victoria Harbor waterfront on Wednesday morning.
Proceedings went ahead peacefully, although scores of students who ringed the ceremony at Bauhinia Square overlooking Hong Kong harbor booed as the national anthem was played.
A beaming Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who was appointed by Beijing, shook hands with supporters waving the Chinese flag even as protesters who want him to stand down chanted: "We want real democracy".
"We hope that all sectors of the community will work with the government in a peaceful, lawful, rational and pragmatic manner ... and make a big step forward in our constitutional development," Leung said in a speech.