Police pointed their guns directly at protesters in a new escalation of the Hong Kong crisis after a small group of activists attacked officers with sticks and rods.

The confrontations were the latest violence in a summer of protests that have shaken the city’s government and residents to the core.

The main showdown took place in the outlying Tsuen Wan district following a protest march that ended in a nearby park.

While a large crowd rallied in the park, a group of hard-line protesters took over a main street, throwing bamboo poles on the pavement and lining up traffic barriers and cones to obstruct police.

Some dug up bricks from the pavement and wheeled them away to use as missiles; others sprayed detergent on the road to make it slippery for the lines of police.

Clashes spread in many directions as protesters broke shopfront windows and threw tear gas canisters back at police.

After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd.

Protesters responded by throwing bricks and petrol bombs toward the police and eventually decided to abandon their position.

Two water cannon trucks and a large group of police vehicles joined riot police on foot as they advanced up the street and met little resistance.

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