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Protesters in Hong Kong continued to maintain control throughout the Admiralty district everywhere but the government headquarters. Though police and protesters clashed over the weekend, currently the police are withdrawn. How long the police will remain withdrawn is the question of the day as protesters are stockpiling supplies and preparing for a new police assault to clear the streets for Chinese National Day which is tomorrow, Wednesday, October 1st.

Chinese National Day offers an opportunity for both the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and the Communist Party elite in Beijing to make symbolic gestures. What those gestures will be remains to be seen with commentators already making comparisons to Tienanmen Square. The protesters in Hong Kong want to elect their own leaders while Beijing wants to control who can even be a candidate.

Protesters have called for Leung Chun-ying, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, to address the protesters before midnight Tuesday and have called on him to resign. If Leung does not address them, the protesters have promised escalation with more occupations of government buildings. Chief Executive Leung has called the protests illegal but said the Hong Kong police can handle it without help from the Chinese national military.

Alex Chow, leader of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said the protests, which began as a gathering of students and the “Occupy Central” movement, had become much broader and attracted Hong Kongers of all walks of life. “It has evolved into a civil movement,” he said. “We can see the Beijing and Hong Kong governments already feel pressure, so the ‘Occupy’ movement must continue,” Chow told protesters in Admiralty.

People set up supply stations with water bottles, fruit, crackers, disposable raincoats, towels, goggles, face masks and tents, indicating they were in for the long haul. Some lugged metal road barricades into positions on the edge of crowds, presumably to slow a police advance. In at least one location, several minivans and a truck were parked in rows in an apparent effort to block a road.

This certainly appears to have all the attributes of a major showdown between Beijing and the people of Hong Kong over who will call the shots. Chinese President Xi Jinping has a reputation for being a hardliner when it comes to political freedom. Though Hong Kong has always been a special case, the worry over protests spreading to the mainland may cause Jinping to crackdown hard. But might such a crackdown backfire?

What happens in the next few days could determine more than just the future of Hong Kong.

Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.