Hong Kongers marked China's National Day in unprecedented fashion Wednesday, as huge crowds of pro-democracy protesters thronged the streets of the Asian financial hub for what is shaping up as a critical day in the territory's "Umbrella Revolution."
Huge crowds are anticipated to take to the streets throughout the annual public holiday marking the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Since 1997, when the sovereignty of Hong Kong was handed back to China, the holiday has been marked by a massive fireworks display, which was canceled this year due to the political unrest.
As crowds built in downtown Hong Kong, with fresh faces joining those who had braved heavy storms to remain on the streets overnight, there appeared no indication that the protesters' determination was waning.
According to a CNN team on the ground, crowds at the main protest site in Hong Kong's financial district yesterday afternoon appeared significantly larger than at the same time Tuesday.
Nor was there any sign that the government, which considers the demonstrations illegal, is prepared to budge.
Some protesters were joining the protests for the first time. Nic Lam, a 35-year-old IT worker, said his job and family had kept him away previously, but the public holiday had allowed him to attend and express his "long-term dissatisfaction" with the Hong Kong government.
Many families were in attendance at the main protest site, which had taken on a festive atmosphere, including band performances.
See more on this developing story on CNN.com