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Following a weekend of protests, a mass of demonstrators returned to Hong Kong's business district on Monday to continue calls for greater democracy. Wielding umbrellas to fight the heat as well as the pepper spray and tear gas, the protests appear to be growing in spite of a crackdown by Hong Kong police.

The protests, which started a student sit-in last week, have been propelled by China's decision to vet candidates for Hong Kong's first-ever elections, which are slated for 2017. The demonstrators say the decision to reject open nominations for candidates violates promises made by China to allow the semi-autonomous territory greater freedoms.

The weekend's crackdown seems to have only steeled the resolve of the protestors, which according to the Times, may attract others to join their ranks.

In another indication that the protests could broaden, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union called Sunday for a general strike by teachers in the city. The organization, which has around 90,000 members, called the police “enemies of the people” and said they had used “ruthless force” against unarmed civilians.

As the crowds grow, tensions seems to have (at least temporarily) defused as Hong Kong police reportedly withdrew from the center of the protests.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong financial markets took a tumble on Monday and Instagram was shut down through all of China, perhaps inadvertently drawing more attention to the protests than before. 

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