Transport minister Eva Cheng and pro-government legislators were trapped inside the Legislative Council building until early today, with several hundred hardcore protesters blocking all the exits. The crowd - which peaked at 10,000 according to organisers and 1,700 according to the police - was boosted by thousands of mostly young onlookers keen to sample the almost festive atmosphere which had been building in Statue Square since Thursday. But all carnivals must leave town, and early today units of riot police moved into position, seemingly to take protesters away. Just before 6pm, as the vote to approve funding for the rail line dragged to its inevitable conclusion, a hardcore group began wrapping their faces with plastic wrap to minimise the effect of pepper spray; others used hoods and bandanas, while one even wore a mask like that sported by the hero in the 2005 movie V for Vendetta, about a freedom fighter who uses terrorist tactics to fight a totalitarian society. A first attempt by a few dozen to storm the building was blocked by rows of police. By 6.10pm, with chants of 'shameful government, shameful pro-establishment and shameful functional constituency' reaching a crescendo, large groups began trying to find other ways into the building. Scuffles broke out with police as protesters attempted to break through the metal barricades brought in to keep them out. Some briefly breached police lines; others were arrested. A phalanx of police surrounding the building began using pepper spray. At 7pm, the protesters began calling for everyone to block all the exits to the buildings. Nevertheless, at about 7.15pm the minister and other officials attempted to leave by minibus along Jackson Road. There were further outbreaks of violence between police and protestors at the Jackson Road exits of the building as the crowd turned their attention to preventing the minister's departure. Others called on the protesters to remain calm as an ambulance struggled down Jackson Road to reach an injured youth. Two rows of police in riot gear tried to clear a path. A man with a loudspeaker called on police for leniency: 'If those who were lying down were your family members, would you step on them?' Five police officers, one a woman, were treated for minor injuries. To cheers, pro-democracy legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah appeared at the Legislative Council building's entrance to call for calm. But the sight of pro-government legislator Chim Pui-chung peering at the crowd from the second floor was met by jeers and cries of 'chicken'. Early this morning, a hard core of several hundred remained huddled on the road together, while thousands of onlookers joined them in song. Where they had previously sung of democracy, now they sang songs of friendship. Just before 1am, the minister and several legislators from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong were escorted from the building to the MTR entrance nearby to chants of 'shame' from the crowd. One activist captured video of Cheng leaving the building, which was then played continuously on a big screen. 'What happened today is the same as what happened at Tiananmen 20 years ago, and our requests are just the same. We want the government to stop this skewed policy of collusion and corruption, and we want to fight for democracy,' Seto Mei, spokesman for the Stop XRL Alliance, said at a press conference. 'Today we were much luckier than those in Tiananmen. We can still fight for a true democracy and we will. Our fight hasn't ended yet.'