While riot police retreated, a teenage girl stood in front of them. They fired two more tear-gas grenades on the roadside before they left. Photo: Asia Times

It has been three years since pro-democracy protesters took to the streets to urge a universal suffrage system for Hong Kong’s chief executive.

It was also the first time in decades that hundreds of riot police were sent to disperse crowds with tear gas, batons and shields in the Asian financial hub.

On September 28, 2014, when tens of thousands of protesters started occupying Harcourt Road and Connaught Road in front of the government headquarters in Admiralty to call for democracy, they did not know that the umbrellas they brought for shade from the sun would become shields against pepper spray, tear-gas grenades and batons.

After 87 lots of tear-gas grenades were fired, Hong Kong became a different city – relations between Beijing and Hong Kong people turned sour. Political heat between the pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps has lingered in the city over the past three years.

The September 28 protest led to the 79-day Occupy movement, or Umbrella Movement, which resulted in a veto of Hong Kong’s political reform proposed by Beijing. The proposal had been criticized by democrats as a “fake universal suffrage.”

Pictures of the September 28, 2014 protest follow:

Protesters who brought umbrellas did not know they would be used as shields against pepper spray and tear-gas grenades. Photo: Asia Times
When protesters initially showed up on Harcourt Road, vehicles had not been able to turn around. Photo: Asia Times
Many Hong Kong people had their first protest experience during the Umbrella Movement. Photo: Asia Times
Protesters face off against police. Photo: Asia Times
Protesters put on masks and plastic wrap in case they were attacked by pepper spray. Photo: Asia Times
Police officers were equipped with masks, shields and batons. Photo: Asia Times
Many protesters were staying on Connaught Road after the police fired tear gases. Photo: Asia Times
Crossroads of Fenwick Street and Hennessy Road in Wan Chai Photo: Asia Times

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