Clashes between police and pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong escalated early Wednesday, but analysts say Beijing is unlikely to step in with harsher force.
Police used pepper spray on protesters Wednesday morning, while attempting to clear a major road that had been barricaded with concrete slabs overnight, Reuters reported.
Protests entered their third week on Monday and mark the worst period of unrest since the 1960s, but authorities in Beijing remain mum.
"It is unlikely that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) garrison in Hong Kong will take part. President Xi Ping and other top officials have indicated that they will not use the soldiers," said Willy Lam, professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The only scenario where the PLA might step in would be if police action such as the use of tear gas or rubber bullets triggered a large-scale outbreak of disorder, Lam said.
Police used tear gas and batons during the first 24 hours of protest, but have since taken a less aggressive approach following heavy criticism.