Hong Kong leader CY Leung has urged Occupy Central protesters to stop their campaign after tens of thousands of people have been blocking streets in several areas.
The protesters want Beijing to give Hong Kong a free vote for its next leader, something Beijing has rejected.
The streets are now relatively quiet but crowds are set to swell later ahead of Chinese National Day on October 1.
People were sleeping and clearing up on September 30 before larger gatherings expected during the evening.
October 1 is a national holiday marking the founding of Communist China.
At the weekend police used tear gas and pepper spray, but riot police have since been withdrawn and protesters remain calm.
Key parts of the city are being blocked by protesters, with some schools and banks closed.
The protesters want CY Leung, the chief executive, to step down. But he appeared to reject their demand, saying that his removal would mean Hong Kong’s next leader being chosen by a committee, as in 2012, rather than by voters.
CY Leung also called on the protesters – a mix of students, supporters of the pro-democracy Occupy Central group and others angered by the police response to the protests – to go home.
“Occupy Central founders had said repeatedly that if the movement is getting out of control, they would call for it to stop,” CY Leung said.
“I’m now asking them to fulfill the promise they made to society, and stop this campaign immediately.”
Beijing ruled last month that Hong Kong people can elect their next leader in 2017.
But the choice of candidates will be restricted to two or three people who must be approved by the majority of a pro-Beijing committee – meaning Beijing can effectively screen candidates.
In Hong Kong, further consultations had been due to take place on the ruling but on September 29 a senior official said these would be postponed until a “better time”.
In its latest statement, Occupy Central accused the government of “delay tactics”, saying it believed the government was “just hoping people’s desire for genuine universal suffrage to fade out over time”.
Occupy Central also repeated calls for CY Leung’s resignation, saying he would be “condemned by the history of democratic development in Hong Kong”.