Hong Kong protesters dig in over election reforms

Hong Kong protesters digging in 02:02

HONG KONG - A showdown is developing in Hong Kong, where protesters are demanding that China butt out of upcoming elections. Video shot from a drone shows tens of thousands jamming block after block.

Hong Kong used to be a British colony. The Chinese took control in 1997, with guarantees of democratic freedoms.

Pro democracy demonstrators are digging in and refusing to move from Hong Kong streets. Protesters want a free vote in the 2017 elections, but last month, the Chinese government said the only candidates on the ballot would be vetted by a committee in Beijing.

"I pray to god that we will succeed, but I don't know," says Martin Lee.

456376086.jpg
Protesters sing songs and wave their cell phones in the air after a massive thunderstorm passed over outside the Hong Kong Government Complex, Sept. 30, 2014. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Legislator Martin Lee was one of the founder's of Hong Kong's Democratic Party.

"We, the Hong Kong people will fight for our democracy and you see them," says Lee. "Heavy rain will not drive them away, tear gas will not drive them away."

They have been tested. During a downpour today, protesters put to use umbrellas that originally protected them from the tropical heat and pepper spray.

Over the weekend, lines of riot police lobbed tear gas at demonstrators to clear streets, but it seemed to only draw thousands more.

But today, we found few uniformed police and protesters were watching out for each other. One group of friends assembled makeshift gas masks.

October 1 is China's National Day holiday -- a traditional day of protest in Hong Kong. Demonstrator Kiana Tsui sees it as an opportunity.

"I don't think that Chinese know what democracy is - because they do not know how to fight for this," says Tsui. "And I think Hong Kong can be an example for them."

Protesters have been telling us that they hope visitors traveling here from the mainland will witness these protests firsthand since so little news is getting to them via the state-run media. October 1 is said to be a critical day for the protest movement.