Demonstrators shelter under umbrellas during heavy rain storm as they gather outside the central government complex during a protest in Hong Kong.

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

Demonstrators shelter under umbrellas during heavy rain storm as they gather outside the central government complex during a protest in Hong Kong.

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

Occupy Hong Kong: One Year After Protesters Took the Streets

It’s been a year since tens of thousands of people flooded Hong Kong’s streets, demanding the right to choose their own leader in a free election. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds, only provoking more outraged citizens to come out in support. Images of the students, armed with no more than umbrellas and enveloped in clouds of smoke, stunned the world and presented China’s leaders with the biggest crisis over Hong Kong since Britain returned sovereignty in 1997. Bloomberg Photos looks back at the 79-day demonstrations -- an occupation of key city roads known as the "Umbrella Movement" -- that shook Hong Kong.

It’s been a year since tens of thousands of people flooded Hong Kong’s streets, demanding the right to choose their own leader in a free election. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds, only provoking more outraged citizens to come out in support. Images of the students, armed with no more than umbrellas and enveloped in clouds of smoke, stunned the world and presented China’s leaders with the biggest crisis over Hong Kong since Britain returned sovereignty in 1997. Bloomberg Photos looks back at the 79-day demonstrations -- an occupation of key city roads known as the "Umbrella Movement" -- that shook Hong Kong.

Police used tear gas in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators, an act that sparked public outrage and drew as many as 100,000 people to the streets on Sept. 28, 2014.

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

Anti-riot police wearing gas-masks and carrying batons and guns repeatedly clashed with demonstrators who used face masks, goggles, plastic wrap and umbrellas to protect themselves.

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

The clashes were the biggest in the city since unrest swept the city in the 1960s led by pro-Communist groups inspired by Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. 

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

Protesters blockaded main roads, pitched tents and lined pavements with artwork and banners. Over the next two months, talks with the government failed, and disagreements between protest leaders increased as public support faltered. 

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

A make shift Lennon Wall covered a wall outside the Central Government Offices filled with messages in support of democracy.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Pro-democracy protesters vowed to press ahead with demonstrations unless Hong Kong’s top official steps down, with thousands of people surrounding government offices after violent clashes paralyzed the city center.

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

Chinese officials called to vote out pro-democracy lawmakers and labelled the pursuit of political autonomy unacceptable and a threat to national interests.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

The arrest of three student leaders for storming government headquarters sparked violent clashes with riot police. The confrontation intensified and more people took to the streets in anger.

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

Protesters used bamboo poles to build barricades, disrupting one of the world’s most vibrant financial centers and a gateway to investment in China.

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

Images of the confrontation were broadcast worldwide, leading to what was seen as the official start of the movement

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

The demonstrations, the biggest challenge to China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong since the city’s return in 1997, drew more than 100,000 people at its peak.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

At its height, tens of thousands of people demonstrated, demanding that China drops what protest leader Benny Tai has said was an “undemocratic” demand to screen candidates for the chief executive election in 2017.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

China shifted in the opposite direction after pro-democracy lawmakers defeated Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s election plan in June because the candidates would be chosen by a panel of insiders

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

Pro-democracy movement supporters questioned the point of talks after the protesters’ most fundamental demand, that vetting be dropped, was taken off the table by Leung Chun-ying.

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

Public support for the pro-democracy protests waned after weeks of traffic and business disruption, while disagreements over tactics grew among the protest leaders.

Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg

Police removed the last of the roadblocks at the main Admiralty district protest site near the government offices with little interference, putting an end to more than two months of street occupation.

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg