On the first of three days of events planned for the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, about 250 people marched down Broadway from Washington Square toward Zuccotti Park, accompanied by a large number of police officers on foot, in marked and unmarked cars, and riding scooters.
At two points along the way, police officers plunged into the crowd and made arrests on sidewalks. Further arrests followed after the crowd reached its destination. In all, it appeared that at least 15 people were taken into custody. Police officials could not immediately provide information about how many people were arrested and with what they were being charged.
The first arrests took place around 6:30 p.m. on Broadway near West 4th Street. Witnesses said that marchers were on the sidewalk on the west side of Broadway when officers grabbed one young man who may have been wearing a bandanna mask and pushed him against the wall.
A video of the event showed milling protesters and officers pushing into the crowd on the sidewalk. Moments later, five men in handcuffs could be seen in the rear of a police van.
Standing nearby, Shir Campeas, 17, said she had been passing by when the arrests occurred and did not witness what initiated the police action. “All of a sudden the police went into the crowd,” she said, adding that the protesters “got really mad.”
The marchers continued south, chanting “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” and “We are the 99 percent.”
More arrests took place near White Street. Again, officers ran onto the sidewalk and grabbed people in the crowd.
A commander wearing a white shirt took one man by the arm and threw him forcefully face down on the sidewalk. Some in the crowd said that officers appeared to be pointing out specific individuals for arrest.
“They’re jumping onto the sidewalk and grabbing people,” said Stacey Hessler, one of the marchers.
Around 8 p.m., after the march reached Zuccotti Park, the police arrested a woman on Broadway near Wall Street who had tried to burn an American flag and gotten into a dispute with a man who tried to stop her.
A large crowd formed on the sidewalk and soon a line of officers began pushing the protesters back north toward Zuccotti Park. Some of the protesters linked arms and moved slowly as the officers herded them.
At 8:30, near Thames Street, a commander ordered the crowd to disperse, and a moment later officers pushed into the crowd, knocking down some protesters and arresting some.
The police repeated that maneuver a few minutes later, and then pushed a group of protesters against the side of a building. One man objected, and an officer pulled him from the crowd and arrested him. At least two other arrests followed, with officers appearing to grab some people almost at random.
Across Broadway, a commander announced that protesters could not stand on a stretch of sidewalk. A man yelled that he had the right to be there and the commander chased him for several feet before the man scrambled away.