Vast crowds of black-clad demonstrators thronged in the largest anti-government protests since local elections last month.
Demonstrators, from students to professionals and the elderly, marched from Victoria Park towards the financial area.
The protests were largely peaceful throughout the afternoon, though at night tensions emerged between riot police and some radical demonstrators.
The rally was the first organized by the Civil Human Rights Front to get police approval since August. Since June, Hong Kong has seen more than 900 demonstrations, processions and public meetings, many ending in violent confrontations. Nearly 6,000 people have been arrested.