Occupy Central
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Protesters wear goggles, face masks and raincoats as defence against pepper spray. Others have created anti-pepper spray barriers out of umbrellas.

IN PICTURES: On the front lines of the Hong Kong democracy movement

The battle lines were drawn as Hong Kong protesters geared up for a long stand-off with police at the start of the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement. Protesters want nothing less than full democracy for the city, in defiance of Beijing and CY Leung's administration's support for a restrictive framework on electoral reform.

Protesters come prepared with a variety of face masks against pepper spray, including an anti-riot helmet and Che Guevara handkerchief.

They are raising their hands because protest leaders instructed this as a way to show they do not intend to attack officers. 

Benny Tai announces the start of the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement at 1.45am. The surprise move (it was widely expected to launch on October 1) has caused some discontent among student protesters who see it as a 'hijacking' of their boycott.

Police monitor the proceedings. The Occupy Central action comes hot on the heels of a week-long class boycott by thousands of students, which prompted clashes and arrests.

Civic Party leader Audrey Eu comes prepared with goggles. A party member said 18 pan-democratic lawmakers would join the protest.

Provisions including drinks and hot food were distributed among the protesters this morning as donations poured in from the public. One woman donated a box of buns.

Policemen stand guard inside the office of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Boycotting students had earlier tied a mass of yellow ribbons - the symbol of the democracy movement - on the gates.

The protest camp takes on the look of a battle zone as protesters erect fences and water-filled plastic barriers to stop any advance by police. 

A couple gets some much-needed shut-eye inside the protest zone. Students had been protesting for two nights before Occupy Central's action kicked off.

A defaced photo of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is placed at the gates of the governnment headquarters.

Police stand in a line as protesters stand their ground. The Occupy Central rallyists have been instructed to employ "progressive non-violent resistance".

A policeman holds up a sign as officers block access points to the Tamar site. More supporters and protesters have been attempting to reach the main rally zone.

A demonstrator peeks out from a space between upturned umbrellas, which they hope to use against pepper spray or water cannons.

A protester falls to the ground, while another gets frisked as police try to contain swelling crowds trying to reach Tamar.