Activists – who are advocating for the right to freely choose their next leader in 2017 – have occupied key thoroughfares in the city since September 28, when police tried to quash student-led protests with tear gas and pepper spray. Protestors' use of umbrellas to shield themselves earned the movement the name "Umbrella Revolution."
"The bulk of protestors know that they more or less need to call it a day," agreed Joseph Cheng, convener of the Alliance for True Democracy, a coalition supporting universal suffrage in Hong Kong.
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Hong Kong watchers expect protest sites to be cleared gradually in the coming weeks, but warn there is a risk of violence breaking out again, particularly in the Mong Kong district which has been occupied by seasoned protestors with a long history of social activism, rather than students.
"Students have exams coming up, they are going to be heavily engaged over next month," said Michael DeGolyer, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University. "Mong Kok, meanwhile, is going to be a more complex case. It may be the hardest one to clear."
While the protests have remained peaceful for the most part, there have been sporadic episodes of rowdiness.
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On Wednesday, a small group of protesters broke into the city's legislature via a side door, prompting riot police, some with shields and helmets, to intervene using pepper spray and batons to keep other demonstrators at bay.
While demonstrators' options are dwindling after their attempts to negotiate with the government failed, analysts expect the movement to live on.
Cheng says a group of pro-democracy legislators could resign from the city legislature in order to spark a by-election that will be used as a referendum to measure public opinion.
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"This is an important way to show the will of the Hong Kong people," he said.
Meantime, students will need to figure out a longer-term strategy for how they will influence future democracy in Hong Kong, said Zweig.
January: a key month
DeGolyer says Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung's policy address in January will be the next key event for the protestors.
"This is going to be the most critical policy address in Hong Kong since 1997," he said.
"If he does nothing to address the underlying causes of the movement – which include inequality, high living costs etc – there will be a re-ignition of protests almost certainly."