One year ago, Hong Kong's streets were shut down by pro-democracy activists who occupied them for 79 days in what became known as the "Umbrella Movement". The protests were led by students and other activists who took to the streets to voice their opposition to Beijing's plan to restrict elections for the leader of the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

The protest was kicked off by students, led by Joshua Wong, who stormed into the government headquarters compound on 26 September. They were promptly arrested by the police. Two days later tens of thousands of supporters flooded onto a major highway in Hong Kong, blocking traffic, and stayed there despite police firing 87 rounds of tear gas in one day.

While largely peaceful, the size and duration of the protests – and the fact that they took place in full view of international media, who filmed the activists using umbrellas to defend themselves against police tear gas, pepper spray and batons – raised a serious challenge to China's Communist Party. The movement fizzled out as the government stuck to a hard line and authorities eventually cleared out all three protest camps.

IBTimesUK looks back at 2014's Hong Kong Umbrella Movement pro-democracy protests in 40 powerful photos.