Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella’ protest: One year on, what has changed?

Updated 3:41 AM EDT, Mon September 28, 2015

Story highlights

Thousands camped in major thoroughfares last year to demand democracy

Tents lined motorway near business district, students refused to leave

One year on, protest has disbanded though protesters say they'll fight on

(CNN) —  

It was an unexpected outburst of violence that shocked Hong Kong and the world.

One year ago on Monday, police in riot gear moved in on peaceful pro-democracy protesters, using tear gas to disperse the crowds.

From these clashes emerged the “Umbrella Movement,” named for the umbrellas the protesters used to shield themselves from the tear gas and pepper spray.

For 79 days, thousands of protesters occupied Hong Kong’s financial district and elsewhere to demand true universal suffrage – one person, one vote, without the interference of Beijing.

It was the biggest political challenge to Beijing since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. But after all the passion and the protest, what has the Umbrella Movement actually achieved?

After public opinion turned, the demonstrators were cleared off the streets.

Hong Kong’s embattled leader, C.Y. Leung, remains in charge.

And while Democrats rejected a Beijing-backed proposal for limited democracy, the “no” vote maintained the status quo.

Where are the protesters now?

The Umbrella Movement’s call for democracy was ultimately denied, and yet student protest leaders still believe it was not all for nothing.

“When I look back in the past year, I am not pessimistic nor do I feel bad about it when I see how things have calmed down,” says student protest leader Nathan Law.