Hong Kong pro-democracy protests
Protesters of the Occupy Central movement sleep in tents as pro-democracy protesters continue blocking areas around the government headquarters building in Hong Kong Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Tens of thousands of student and Occupy protesters are back in the streets of Hong Kong as the authorities are set to travel to the mainland to attend a regional conference in the southern Chinese province of Guangzhou.

Pro-democracy activists continue to throng Admiralty following cancellation of talks by the administration.

Though no police estimate is available, the protest organisers have said tens of thousands have turned up.

The student activist group Scholarism earlier urged the protesters to occupy "every inch of the streets".

Hundreds of tents have been pitched and the organisers are distributing free breakfast in many areas.

Both train and bus services have been thrown out of gear by blockades.

"It seems like they [government authorities] don't want to [have a] conversation with us. But I think this amount of people shows that we really want to solve the problem with the government," 25-year Kiki Choi, an art teacher who is taking part in the protesters, told Reuters.

The escalation of the protests comes at a time when key Hong Kong government officials are heading to the mainland to participate in the regional forum meeting.

While Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and three ministers will attend the conference on Saturday, 11 October, the Beijing-backed Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will be present at the forum on Sunday.

It is still unclear how the stand-off will be resolved as both sides remain firm on their respective standpoints. However, the police presence in the streets remains thin so far.