On the first of three days planned to mark the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street about 250 people marched down Broadway from Washington Square toward Zuccotti Park. The crowd was accompanied by a large number of police officers on foot in marked and unmarked cars and riding scooters.
At two different points along the way, police officers plunged into the crowd and made arrests.
The circumstances surrounding the arrests were not immediately clear but by 7:30 p.m. it appeared that at least eight people had been taken into custody.
The first incident 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. She said she 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.”
The second incident took place near White Street. Again, officers ran onto the sidewalk and grabbed people in the crowd.
A commander wearing a white shirt grabbed one man 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.
The Occupy Wall Street protest began in Lower Manhattan on Sept. 17, 2011. The protesters set up an encampment inside Zuccotti Park and said they had done so to call attention to a financial system that they believed unfairly favored the rich and powerful.