No love for "National Day" on Hong Kong streets

Protests grow amid celebrations in Hong Kong 02:46

HONG KONG -- Protesters, many of them students and young people, continued to jam Hong Kong's streets on Wednesday. As CBS News' Seth Doane reports, Wednesday is "National Day" in China -- a holiday that many people have off work, and crowds were growing.

To mark the founding of the communist People's Republic of China, flags were raised at a ceremony in semi-autonomous Hong Kong. But reaction from the thousands of protesters in the city's streets as helicopters flew overhead towing a Hong Kong flag, and then a significantly larger Chinese flag, were hardly patriotic.

The crowd erupted in loud chants of "boo!"

And Hong Kong's Beijing-backed Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying -- who has refused to meet with protesters -- was heckled during his speech.

A newly released video shows the heavy-handed police crackdown that enraged many in Hong Kong over the weekend and swelled the protest numbers. One protester, his back to police, is grabbed by an officer and sprayed with pepper spray.

The signature tool of this so-called "umbrella revolution" was put to use again overnight as a rainstorm drenched the pro-democracy movement.

When the rain cleared, the view from a drone overhead showed a crowd undeterred by Mother Nature or by the central Chinese government's intransigence.

Michael Davis, an American, has been a law professor in Hong Kong for almost 30 years. He told Doane that the protesters are "Hong Kong kids... my students."

Hong Kong protesters digging in 02:02

Hong Kong used to be a British colony, but China took control in 1997 with guarantees of some democratic freedoms for the island, a deal dubbed "One Country, Two Systems."

The protesters want a free vote in the 2017 elections, and they feel entitled to one under the 1997 handover agreement. Last month, however, the Chinese government said only candidates vetted by a committee in Beijing would be on the ballot.

While the elections are still more than two years away, Davis said the protesters' demands are urgent.

"It's really important," he told Doane, "because what they've been witnessing over the past few years is a dysfunctional government that seems to be representing Beijing more than it represents Hong Kong."

The question, explains Doane, is how long can the protesters keep up their peaceful movement.

CBS News spoke to a number of government think-tanks and academics in Beijing on Wednesday, and none of them thought the Communist government was likely to bend to the protesters' demands.

They told Doane that China's President Xi Jinping is at crossroads; if this protest is allowed to continue it could make the Communist party look weak, but if China uses force, it could serious consequences.

Doane says that for now, both sides appear to be waiting for the other to make a mistake.