09/29/2014 05:47 pm ET Updated Sep 29, 2014

These Photos Of Hong Kong Show A Completely Different Side Of The Pro-Democracy Protests

Student protests in Hong Kong grew over the weekend into an enormous pro-democracy demonstration after police tried to forcibly disperse the protesters from the city's financial district. Despite the harsh crackdown by security forces, tens of thousands of demonstrators show no sign of dissipating.

At the heart of the protests is the Chinese government's refusal to allow Hong Kong residents the ability to elect a leader of their choosing. Instead, citizens of the former British colony are expected to choose between candidates vetted by Beijing when the next elections are held in 2017. The move is seen as a step away from a more democratically-run Hong Kong, which the Chinese government had promised under its "one country, two systems" deal as it took over from the British in 1997.

In between images from this weekend's demonstrations that show dramatic and chaotic scenes, however, other photos have emerged documenting the peaceful character of the protests. Images widely shared on social media show activists raising their hands in a familiar gesture against violence. Some, in a move that reveals pride for their city, have even made an effort to start cleaning up trash and debris. Take a look below to see the polite side of Hong Kong's protesters.

According to Mark Tjhung, the musicians were playing "Can You Hear The People Sing?" from Les Miserables. The note, signed by a student, reads: "Sorry if [you] have any inconvenience. I hope you know Hong Kong is in emergency. Please accept the apology again." The sign reads: "Sorry -- I don't know who did this, but we are not anarchists. We want democracy."


Hong Kong Protests