Hundreds of student activists camped overnight at major protest sites in Hong Kong as the democracy movement sought to regather momentum after the government called off talks with its leaders aimed at defusing unrest in the global financial hub.
Protests escalated late last month, after Beijing's decision on August 31 to impose conditions for nominations that would effectively stop pro-democracy candidates from contesting an election of the city's chief executive set for 2017.
The occupation movement suffered a noticeable dip in support over the past week, but strong crowds of over ten thousand returned on Friday evening for a series of rallies in the former British colony.
By Saturday afternoon many protesters were coming back again to join the stalwarts who had camped overnight.
"Hong Kong is my home, we are fighting for Hong Kong's future, our future," Lawrence Chan, a 23 year-old media studies student, who has participated in the protests from the outset, told Reuters.
Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said on Thursday that the government had called off talks with the students because of their persistent calls to escalate action.
"It seems like they (the government) don't want to (have a) conversation with us. But I think this amount of people shows that we really want to solve the problem with the government," said Kiki Choi, a 25-year-old art teacher among the protesters.
Since taking to the streets around two weeks ago, the activists have blockaded major roads around the government precinct in Admiralty, as well as the shopping districts of Central and Causeway Bay.
At Friday's rallies, protest leaders urged demonstrators to prepare for a protracted struggle instead of expanding the protests geographically. The protests have led to some resentment among the public due to the resulting traffic jams and loss of business.