The Occupy Wall Street movement staged what is believed to have been its largest demonstration yet Wednesday, as protesters were joined by labor unions and students in their march from Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to Foley Square.
Throughout the afternoon, protesters marched peacefully holding signs and chanting. But as night fell, the demonstrations turned violent.
NYPD officers became fed up with protesters after several people tried to push past a police barricade, and reportedly began swinging batons and firing mace into the crowd. A local Fox 5 reporter reports that he was hit with a baton in the abdomen, and his photographer hit in the eyes with pepper spray.
Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, told the New York Times that one officer “possibly” used it.
Between eight and 28 protesters were arrested, and one protester was charged with assault after an officer was knocked off his scooter. The number of arrests was far less than the 700 arrested on Brooklyn Bridge Saturday.
New Yorker Evan Fogel, who lives on Wall Street with a street-facing window, captured this shot of police and protesters gathering:
Watch the Fox 5 journalists’ report on clashes with police:
Footage uploaded to YouTube shows a police officer beating back protesters with nightsticks:
In another clip posted to YouTube, NYPD officers appear to be having an exchange about using their nightsticks on protesters. “My little nightstick’s going to get a workout tonight,” a male officer says. ”I haven’t used it,” the female officer replies, and he shoots back, smiling: “I have. Several times.”