Joshua Wong, leader of the student movement, rests after delivering a speech as protesters blocked the main street to the financial Central district, outside the government headquarters building in Hong Kong.
A year after Hong Kong riot police fired tear gas at pro-democracy protesters in scenes that created headlines worldwide, there seems little appetite for another mass occupation of the Chinese-controlled city.
Instead, a political slanging match is building. China's top representative in Hong Kong said this month that leader Leung Chun-ying is above the law, prompting fierce debate and a backlash from pro-democracy activists.
Controversial remarks followed from a former Chinese official who said the failure of Hong Kong to be "de-colonised" was the cause of many of its problems.
The comments have reignited fears about Beijing's expanding influence in the city, although the mood today is a far cry from the anger and frustration that galvanised protesters to take to the streets late last year to demand full democracy.
"There is a certain sense of fatigue. At the same time there is a realisation that not much can be achieved in terms of forcing concessions from the CY Leung administration or from Beijing. So there are no attractive, realisable objectives to mobilise Hong Kong people," said Joseph Cheng, a democracy activist and retired political science professor. "To some extent, we have to wait for important political changes in China."
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that gave it some autonomy from the mainland and an undated promise of universal suffrage.
Democracy activists have been demanding free elections to chose the city's next leader in 2017 rather than vote for candidates that have been screened by Beijing.
In June, Hong Kong's legislature vetoed the China-backed electoral reform package that had been labelled as undemocratic by opposition pro-democracy lawmakers and activists.
Plans to mark the first anniversary of the Occupy movement on September 28 include talks on university campuses and a silent protest in front of Hong Kong government headquarters. Another major street occupation is not expected.
The anniversary comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping is on a state visit to the United States.
Hong Kong student protest leader Joshua Wong, university professor and protest leader Benny Tai and veteran democracy leader Martin Lee also travelled to the United States this week, hoping Washington would press Xi on democratic reform.
The activists failed to meet with top White House officials.
Wong, before he left Hong Kong, said the city's fight for democracy would be long and require new approaches.
"I'm not saying that civil disobedience is not useful in the future," he said. “I would like to put more effort into thinking about what strategy the pan-democrats or the people on the more liberal side can use to fight for democracy."