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Why Monday is pivotal for Hong Kong activists

Watch out for October 6 in Hong Kong

Monday will be the key test for Hong Kong's pro-democracy demonstrations and will determine whether it will be a lasting movement, according to analysts.

The number of protestors has grown to more than 200,000 since it began last Friday, in part because of the public holidays on Wednesday and Thursday, which have enabled more residents to protest against Beijing's decision to deny the territory full freedom to choose their next leader.

But how much longer protesters can maintain their momentum is up for debate, especially come Monday, when the long weekend wraps up and the city returns to business.

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Nicholas Consonery, China analyst at Eurasia Group, says if demonstrations can sustain itself into Monday, as he expects, there's a higher likelihood of intervention by riot policy "via the use of force if necessary." But this could also further aggravate protesters.

"The resulting use of force by police will only reinvigorate protesters and bring more into the streets, meaning that the back-and-forth lasts for weeks or even months but is mostly manageable," he said.

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What started as a largely-peaceful movement by students turned violent over the weekend after police fired volleys of tear gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters blocking the main street in the financial district.

Since then, the protests – which have been impeccably organized and widely described as "polite" – have spread across huge swathes of the city and shutting down schools, businesses and banks in the affected areas.

A protester instructs people to move to Chater Road in the Central District on September 29, 2014 in Hong Kong.
Anthony Kwan | Getty Images

According to Michael DeGolyer, professor at Hong Kong Baptist University,it's unlikely the territory can survive a prolonged period of unrest, especially where livelihoods are at stake.

"We'll see a fair number of layoffs on Monday, if this is not brought to a hold," he said. "A lot of students have parents that work in the industry, and for those who don't, they will see people around them losing their jobs and become concerned."

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While China has largely kept out of the standoff, DeGolyer says through actions such as halting visas for tour groups heading to Hong Kong, Beijing is targeting the city's tourism and retail sector.

"It looks like an 'Anaconda' scenario is developing, where we will have a slow strangling of the movement," DeGolyer said.

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On Friday, when banks open there could be a significant outflow of funds, he added, which could sent a strong signal to the city's business sector that there are indeed implications for the economy.

"Watch the exchange rate on Friday," DeGolyer said. "It will be economic pressures that will shift public opinion."