Pro-democracy protesters have clashed with riot police outside the headquarters of Hong Kong's government, with 18 people arrested.
Government offices and shops were forced to temporarily close while the stand-off continued.
Police charged the protesters with batons and pepper spray as they defied orders to retreat.
The demonstrators are angry at the Chinese government in Beijing for refusing to allow greater independence and democracy in the former British colony.
Thousands of pro-democracy activists forced the temporary closure of the Hong Kong government's headquarters today after they clashed with police outside.
Chaos erupted as commuters made their way to work, with hundreds of protesters surrounding Admiralty Centre, which houses offices and retail outlets, in a tense stand-off with police.
The central government offices and the legislature were forced to close in the morning, as were scores of shops.
The latest flare-up, during which police charged protesters with batons and pepper spray, marked an escalation in the civil disobedience movement.
British lawmakers will not be allowed to enter Hong Kong as part of an inquiry into Britain's relations with its former colony and progress towards democracy there, the head of a parliamentary committee said.
"I have been informed by the Chinese Embassy that if we attempt to travel to Hong Kong we will be refused entry," foreign affairs select committee chairman Richard Ottaway said in a statement.
The committee is looking at Britain's relations with Hong Kong 30 years after it agreed terms for handing the city over to China.
The news comes as thousands of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have clashed with police over the way the city's next leaders will be elected in 2017.
Seven police officers have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm for allegedly beating a protester during the Hong Kong riots, according to local media reports.
The arrests come after a video of Ken Tsang being attacked near the Admiralty protest camp emerged last month.
All the officers had already been suspended from duty.
Hong Kong police have arrested two student leaders of the pro-democracy protests.
Joshua Wong and Lester Shum were held by officers, who attempted to clear hundreds of protesters overnight after obtaining a court order.
Riot police demolished barricades which have been up since the protests began in September, allowing roads to open again.
Eighty court-appointed bailiffs wearing red caps and "I love Hong Kong" T-shirts began clearing metal and wooden barricades where hundreds of tents had been erected.
But defiant protesters, whose symbol has become the umbrella, vowed to stay put as talks with the government remain unresolved.
A British banker accused of killing two Indonesian women in Hong Kong has been declared fit to stand trial for their murders.
A judge ruled that Rurik Jutting, 29, was mentally fit to stand trial next year following two weeks of psychiatric examinations, the AFP news agency reported.
The bodies of Seneng Mujiasih and Sumarti Ningsih - reported to be sex workers - were found in his flat on November 1.
Mujiasih was found with knife wounds in the living room, before Ningsih's body was discovered hours later in a suitcase on the balcony.
Mr Jutting, a Cambridge University graduate, recently worked as a securities trader at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The case was adjourned until July.
A court in Hong Kong has adjourned the trial of a British banker accused of the murders of two women, pending a psychiatric report on the suspect.
29-year-old Rurik Jutting was charged with two counts of murder last week after police found the bodies of two women in his apartment, including one inside a suitcase on a balcony.
The court granted a request from prosecutors that the hearing be adjourned until 24th November so two psychiatric reports could be prepared, Reuters have reported.
Wearing a black T-shirt with New York emblazoned across the front and sporting a beard and mustache, Jutting, when asked if he understood that he needed to get his lawyers to represent him, replied to the judge: "Yes, madam."
He has said little else in his two brief court appearances so far and has not entered a plea.
British banker Rurik Jutting was this morning driven into a Hong Kong court charged with the gruesome murder of two reported sex workers from south-east Asia.
The 29-year-old Briton was arrested after the victims were found in his apartment on Saturday.
ITV News reporter Richard Pallot has the details:
The 29-year-old Brit was privately-educated and studied at Cambridge before becoming an investment banker in London and then Hong Kong.Read the full story ›