OCCUPY CENTRAL - NIGHT THREE: Full coverage of all the night's events
Thunderstorms failed to deter huge crowds from gathering in spots around Hong Kong last night, where the umbrellas that had been used to fend off tear gas attacks two days earlier were put to their more traditional use.
Watch: Occupy Hong Kong day four: volunteers keeping protest clean and safe
6.55am: Outside the square in Wan Chai where the flag-raising ceremony is due to begin in just over an hour, some protesters have formed a human chain to head off other protesters who may be planning to charge a police line there. The protesters in the human chain say the Occupy movement must remain non-violent.
6.30am: There is a possible stand-off developing in Wan Chai between protesters gathered outside Golden Bauhinia Square, where an official National Day flag-raising ceremony is due to begin at 8am. The square is being guarded by hundreds of police officers. Some of the protesters want to try to force their way into the square when senior officials arrive for the ceremony, but many others are urging against the plan. Student activist group Scholarism announced earlier on Wednesday that its members would show up outside the ceremony to protest but they did not intend to confront police.
Some protesters want 2 storm China flag raising ceremony in 90 mins; others don't; many police guard bauhinia square pic.twitter.com/fEeOfbIs3m
— Benjamin (@Garvey_B) September 30, 2014
6.12am: Hong Kong police have confirmed that an Eastern District chief inspector, Andrew Philips, has died after he shot himself inside North Point police station before 3am on Wednesday morning. A press conference will be held at 6.30am.
5.23am: Occupy McDonald's! As protesters in Central escaped the rain earlier, the queue at a nearby McDonald's restaurant extended out the door as the crowds sought shelter and a late dinner/early breakfast.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong celebrity Kay Tse was spotted among the protesters in Admiralty during the night.
4.55am: UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged that democratic principles be respected in Hong Kong, Reuters reports. "He understands that this is a domestic matter, but urges all stakeholders to resolve any differences in a manner that is peaceful and safeguards democratic principles," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
In Admiralty volunteers have called for donations of hot drinks, soups, towels, paper cups and glucose powder for soaked protesters who are regrouping ahead of what will be for some their fifth straight day on the streets. And in Wan Chai, students are sheltering next to the Grand Hyatt Hotel as they wait for the flag-raising ceremony at 8am.
4.27am: As the occupation of Hong Kong by pro-democracy protesters continues for its 100th hour, here's the situation across the city. In Central and Admiralty, the crowds of tens of thousands who turned out on Tuesday evening have thinned significantly as protesters headed for home for the night or found shelter from the heavy rain which hit the city after midnight. But a crowd is growing in Wan Chai near to where an official National Day flag-raising ceremony will be held at 8am.
It's a similar situation in Causeway Bay, where hundreds remain on the streets and many more escaped indoors. Away from Hong Kong Island, in Mong Kok a reduced crowd has returned to Nathan Road and Argyle Street after the rain eased. And a new front has opened up in Tsim Sha Tsui, also on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong, as hundreds occupy Canton Road, a mecca for shoppers from the mainland.
The protesters are calling for the city's leader, Leung Chun-ying, to resign, and for the central government in Beijing to allow an open election of the next chief executive. In August, Beijing ruled out that scenario, saying that a committee of 1,200 members would vet potential candidates for the election, which all registered voters would be allowed to participate in.
Beijing said potential candidates who could threaten "national security" could not be allowed on the ballot paper. The protesters say this would amount to "fake" universal suffrage.
3.44am: Here's a stunning video of last night's protests as seen from above, captured by activist Nero Chan via drone.
3.25am: More now on the situation on Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, a shopping street that is hugely popular with visitors from the mainland and home to many stores selling luxury goods. Hundreds of people have blocked off the road, with some attempting to set up makeshift shelters from the rain.
3.00am: A great picture taken by our reporter Jennifer Ngo captures some protesters braving the torrential rain battering Causeway Bay right now.
— Jennifer Ngo (@jj_ngo) September 30, 2014
2.45am: A tweet from our reporter Alice Woodhouse in Central.
— Alice Woodhouse (@alicemuwu) September 30, 2014
Watch our video interview with Joshua Wong here.
2.30am: A blinged out delivery truck has arrived outside City Hall in Central - to rapturous applause - full of supplies for the protesters there. The demonstrators have been delivering supplies back and forth between the different protest camps since Sunday night using trucks, vans and motorbikes. Each time a delivery arrives, the crowd rises and cheers. The sign on the front of this truck reads "Supporting the students".
2.23am: Singer Anthony Wong performed on the street for the thousands of protesters gathered in Causeway Bay. "We need to be in unity...it is not just Occupy Central or a student boycott anymore, it has become a citywide movement," Wong said. Having grown up in a family with many in the disciplined forces, Wong said that he had great respect for them, but hoped that police officers would remember that they are dealing with people who love Hong Kong. "We need to hold on, until we accomplish our goal - a just and fair society where we get to have a real choice in picking our own leader and our lawmakers," he said.
Meanwhile, the Observatory wasn't kidding - heavy rain has started to fall across Hong Kong. It was met by cheers from the crowds in Central, who have another excuse to break out their now world famous umbrellas.
2.11am: An amber rainstorm warning has been issued by the Hong Kong Observatory, as more heavy rain and strong winds look to be on the way. Outside Golden Bauhinia Square, where an official National Day flag-raising ceremony will start in less than six hours, the ranks of protesters have grown in the last hour. They have brought more metal barriers which they have set up to resist any attempts by police to push them away from the square.
1.56am: Solidarity protests are planned in more than 30 cities around the world this week in support of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, as Occupy Central goes global. Find out more here.
1.43am: And here's a picture taken by Raquel Carvalho in Causeway Bay, where there are still thousands gathered, fully prepared for any more rain in the coming hours.
1.30am: A picture taken earlier in Admiralty by Felix Wong as the "Umbrella Movement" braved a torrential downpour.
1.15am: A situation to keep an eye on: Hundreds of protesters are gathering on Convention Road next to Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, where a flag-raising ceremony to mark National Day will begin at 8am. The ceremony is expected to be attended by a host of senior officials. At 1am there were about 100 police officers standing guard behind metal barriers. One of the protesters, 19-year-old student Eric, said the pro-democracy movement "is giving the country a happy birthday".
12.55am: Taiwan’s leader Ma Ying-jeou said on Tuesday that China risked alienating the Taiwanese people and damaging cross-straits relations if it failed to respond with a "delicate hand" to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Reuters reports. Ma told a meeting of the ruling Kuomintang party that the confrontation between police and demonstrators was very worrying.
"If the mainland authority can handle this appeal with a delicate hand, it can help to shorten the mental gaps between people across the Taiwan Strait and benefit cross-strait relations," Ma said in remarks issued by the party. "Otherwise, it could serve to alienate Taiwanese people and cause damage to cross-strait relations."
Elsewhere, the British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said that Britain will summon the Chinese ambassador to discuss the ongoing protests. Clegg previously announced on Twitter that he sympathises "a great deal with the brave pro-democracy demonstrators taking to the streets of Hong Kong".
And in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said the German leader was following events in Hong Kong closely. He added: “Freedom of speech has a long tradition in Hong Kong and it is secured by law. It is a good sign that so many people have voiced their opinions. Our hope is it that government forces in Hong Kong react with consideration, so that the rights of the citizens are upheld and their opinions can be voiced freely.”
12.45am: A group of more than 50 people representing ethnic minorities walked from Central and reached Causeway Bay before midnight. Holding banners reading "We are Hong Kong", they walked through the masses along Hennessy Road and Yee Wo Street, chanting in Cantonese along with the crowd: "Hong Kong, add oil!" and "CY step down!"
In Central, Scholarism leader Joshua Wong, 17, rallied the crowd in the packed boulevard, calling for the public to be allowed to nominate candidates for the next chief executive election - and for current leader Leung Chun-ying to step down.
And in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, hundreds of protesters have occupied Canton Road, a key thoroughfare, as the demonstrations continue to spread.
12.15am: Some images just in from our photographer Dickson Lee who is in Admiralty, where tens of thousands are still gathered. The signs in the second photograph read "Be alert" and "Don't forget the objective".
12.00am: The Guardian is reporting that a British company which sold tear gas to Hong Kong will review its sales policy after the canisters were fired at unarmed protesters on Saturday. UK officials also made it clear they would re-evaluate their policy if they were asked to approve future export licences for tear gas to Hong Kong.
"The Campaign Against the Arms Trade, CAAT, said the UK had granted six licences worth £180,000 to sell tear gas to Hong Kong in the past four years, as police stockpiled canisters. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said it did not comment on individual companies. However, it is understood that the CS gas covered by the licences over recent years has all been exported to Hong Kong."
11.32pm. On a lighter note, some protesters are receiving some treats tonight, including a free concert by popular Canto-pop and gay rights activist Anthony Wong Yiu-ming on Tim Mei Avenue in Admiralty. More than 400 people have gathered to watch the show outside the government headquarters.
A fish ball stand has also been set up for hungry protesters outside Legco.
11.17pm. Occupy Central organisers have received "a stack of envelopes containing death threats scrawled in Chinese characters".
"I understood that once I joined this movement, they would attack me and treat me as an enemy," Occupy leader Professor Chan Kin-man told Reuters.
Co-organiser Benny Tai has also received threats, some of which he said where addressed to "The Devil". One letter even contained a razor blade to drive the point home. Academics associated with the protests have also reportedly suffered intimidation because of their activism.
An Occupy spokesperson who spoke to South China Morning Post clarified that the threats were received before the movement officially kicked off early on Sunday morning.
11.09pm. The red star on Chinese military headquarters in Admiralty is flashing bright tonight. The star was included in renovations to the building months ago, and it was unveiled in January.
The PLA caused controversy in June when it unveiled its refurbished building, complete with chinese characters in light which spelled "Chinese People's Liberation Army".
10.43pm: Police make a rare appearance in Central, with a group of them turning up to warn several protesters against going to the top floor of the Star Ferry carpark on Connaught Road Central. Organisers had earlier warned the crowd not to enter the car parks, which are private property.
Protesters left the car park peacefully.
10.28pm. It’s jam-packed now in Admiralty. Protesters have even hung a sign on a traffic light saying the roads are full and there is no space for new arrivals, also warning that neighbouring protesters should remain in Central.
In a repeat of last night’s “sea of lights”, protesters on Harcourt Road again lit up the night with their mobile phones raised as they sing popular Cantonese tunes.
On Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay, about 10,000 people of all ages and walks of live have turned up. Public lectures on the history of Taiwan’s democratic movement continue on Hennessy Road.
Across the harbour, on lengthy Nathan Road, the crowds were noticeably thinner than yesterday, but people still fill lanes going to Jordan and Tsim Sha Tsui.
10.05pm. As crowds massed on major roads across the city, police had appealed to protesters to "leave as soon as possible" and dismantle their makeshift roadblocks.
The Fire Services reported ambulance delays - the usual response time is 12 minutes - in districts where roads are occupied. In one "extreme" case, it said paramedics took 43 minutes to bring a person with ankle injury to hospital - by MTR - due to road blocks.
Deputy chief fire officer Leung Wai-hung said: "So far we have received no reports of any death or big fire, but this is what we are trying to prevent."
Police said 3,670 metres of carriageway - mainly Harcourt Road in Admiralty, Gloucester Road in Wan Chai, and Hennessy Road in Causeway Bay - have been blocked. A 1,500-metre stretch of Nathan Road and Mong Kok, between Boundary Street and Waterloo Road have also been blocked.
9.45pm. The Canadian Consulate General has issued a warning to its nationals in Hong Kong about the ongoing protests, urging them to "avoid" demonstrations in case violence escalates. The US, Australia, Britan and Italy had also issued warnings.
“Police used tear gas, pepper spray and other methods to disperse protesters. These demonstrations are expected to continue over the coming days and could spread to other districts,” the consulate said in a statement.
“Exercise caution, monitor local media and avoid large public demonstrations as violence could erupt and escalate quickly.”
9.30pm. The mood has turned festive. Connaught Road Central continues filling with people from Mandarin Oriental to Harcourt Road.
Chater Road is closed to traffic but has not been occupied. People have covered the wet ground with bin bags, supplied by volunteers, to keep from getting damp.
In Causeway Bay, some have erected tents in case the rains come back again.
9.03pm: While police seemed to have softened their approach since Sunday, when tear gas and pepper spray were used widely, many protesters on the streets are nervous that the heavy-handed tactics will return.
Hong Kong-based design agency Entendre Studios created a 'Safety Guide to Teargas Exposure' in both Chinese and English, which has been shared widely on social media.
8.55pm: New protest fronts may be emerging. Tonight, protest organisers announced that the Sheung Shui MTR Station had been "occupied" but did not give details.
8.43pm: Reports say people from three different buildings have been dropping eggs on those camped out on Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay. Police were called and are talking to witnesses, who said it happened at least four times. Earlier in the day, an angry man had pelted protesters with rotten eggs in front of Sogo.
8.37pm: News of Hong Kong development chief Paul Chan Mo-po losing a defamation case and being fined HK$230,000 has reached the Occupy camp in Mong Kok. (Read the full report on Chan here)
The crowd cheered as the news was announced by a speaker who went on stage.
In an interesting experiment, every person at the Mong Kok protest zone is allowed to give a two-minute speech onstage, even the movement's detractors.
8.06pm: The rain seems to have stopped and people head back to the streets. Others are staying under awnings or inside car parks to dry their shoes and socks.
Protesters in Causeway Bay chant, "We will stay here until the end despite the weather" while clamouring for "real universal suffrage" and "no screening from China".
Others start cleaning the soaked streets, while singing the Cantonese song Under the Vast Sky
Even Mr Yin, who is in a wheelchair, said: "I'd rather get soaked than hit by tear gas." He vowed to stay on until tomorrow even if it rains.
Yin said he had been participating in the movement since Saturday and despite having witnessed many other protests, this one was "different". "People are so encouraged. I have a feeling that it is going to get better," he said.
7.51pm: After days of censorship on Occupy, a Chinese state news program run by CCTV became the first to openly comment on the Hong Kong protests on TV.
The CCTV-produced Xinwen Lianbo strongly denounced the Hong Kong democracy movement on air today, saying it had a severe impact on stock, property, retail, catering, tourism and the people’s daily life.
“The economic loss is at least HK$40 billion,” the report quoted business associations in Hong Kong as saying.
The news portrayed negative public sentiment against the movement. “The purpose of Occupy Central is to paralyse the transportation [networks], harm the rule of law and disrupt the business environment so as to force the central and SAR governments to give in,” the report concludes.
The report highlighted Hong Kong Unversity and Chinese University officials' appeal for calm. It also quoted the officals as saying the students should "leave" - but failed to mention this appeal was made during tear-gas attacks on Sunday.
7.50pm: The downpour has failed to dampen the mood at Occupy camps throughout the city. Many remarked they were not called the "Umbrella Movement" for nothing.
Felix Ip, a striking worker on Harcourt Road, said he had nothing to fear. "We are not afraid of tear gas, why would we afraid of lightning. We have umbrella and raincoat, and will not afraid of the rain," he said.
Every time there was a thunderclap, people keep cheering.
Another student on Nathan Road said of the downpour: "We have brought umbrellas. This is called the 'umbrella revolution, after all."
7.47pm: Diplomats in Hong Kong have spoken of their shock at receiving a letter from the Chinese foreign ministry instructing them to avoid the ongoing pro-democracy protests that have swept the city.
The letter, sent from the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on September 28, was addressed to all foreign consulates in Hong Kong. “At present, some radical groups in Hong Kong are staging illegal activities of assembly and "Occupy Central", some acts of violence and legal offenses have occurred as a result,” the letter read. “The Hong Kong Police is dealing with them in accordance with the law.”