After some of the worst violence in decades, rare weekday clashes brought Hong Kong's central business district to a standstill on Tuesday (November 12).
Police fired teargas to break up pro-democracy protests and warned the city was on "the brink of total breakdown."
This was a day after they shot a protester at close range, and a man was doused in petrol and set on fire. He's still in critical condition.
Scores have been injured in the clashes.
And -- for the second day running -- a flashmob descended during the lunch hour.
Office workers watched from the walkways.
Others joined the crowd.
One finance-worker was spotted on the frontline in a pencil skirt and court shoes, saying she's there to protect the kids.
Women and men in suits shouted "see you tomorrow" as the protests cleared out, with no sign -- there at least -- of the police.
But violence flared around the City and Chinese universities, where police fired tear gas and protesters threw petrol bombs and bricks at them.
After months of routine protest in Hong Kong, this week seems to be a turning point.
Many workers across the city were sent home.
Businesses in Asia's financial center shut early as the violence took hold.
Leader Carrie Lam has toughened her language against the protesters.
This week, she called them selfish, and the enemy of the people.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CARRIE LAM, SAYING:
"There is no question that escalating violence could get what the rioters want. Not from the government, not from society at large."
This week's violence also caught the attention of foreign governments.
The U.S. said it is watching with grave concern.
And urged all sides to de-escalate as the Chinese-ruled city plunges deeper into crisis.