Pro-democracy protesters sleep on a ground near the office of the Chief Executive in Hong Kong December 1,2014. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
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Thousands of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists forced the temporary closure of government headquarters Monday after clashing with police, defying orders to retreat after more than two months of sustained protests in the Chinese-controlled city.The latest flare-up, during which police charged protesters with batons and pepper spray, underscored the frustration of protesters at Beijing's refusal to budge on electoral reforms and grant greater democracy to the former British colony.Hong Kong Federation of Students leader Alex Chow said the protesters had intended to paralyze government headquarters.Hundreds of riot police scattered the crowds in several rounds of heated clashes overnight, forcing protesters back with pepper spray and batons.Police said at least 40 arrests were made.The protesters are demanding free elections for the city's next leader in 2017 rather than the vote between pre-screened candidates that Beijing has said it would allow.
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