Hong Kong protesters begin hunger strike after night of violence

Police officers beat up protesters as they try to disperse them outside government headquarters in Hong Kong Monday, Dec. 1, 2014.
Student activists from Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement began a hunger strike on Monday after violence rocked the city.
Joshua Wong, a leader of what has been dubbed the 'Umbrella Revolution,' announced the hunger strike in a Facebook post, asking the government to "immediately restart political reform" and begin an "open dialogue with students."
Two women from the student activist group Scholarism will join 18-year-old Wong in the hunger strike, according to the South China Morning Post.
The hunger strike announcement comes one night after activists called for an escalation of protests. After two months of mostly peaceful protests, activists surrounded the offices of the city's controversial Beijing-backed chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, before blocking a main thoroughfare. Police used pepper spray and batons to clear the protesters.
Forty people were arrested and dozens injured during the clashes.
Though streets were calmer by Monday evening, the hunger strike made it clear that the student activists had not abandoned their cause.
Wong was taken into custody last week, before being released on bail a day after his arrest. In October, he spoke with Mash as hundreds of thousands gathered in central Hong Kong during the early days of the Umbrella Revolution, calling for the resignation of Beijing-backed Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
"This movement is really about all the people who live in Hong Kong,"Wong told Mash. "We have tasted what freedom is."
Wong rose to prominence after creating the student group Scholarism in 2011. The group opposes China's influence on Hong Kong's government.

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