New York City and the owner of the private park where Occupy Wall Street protestors have camped retreated from their plans to close the park and clean it. Protestors celebrated their victory by leaving the park — and starting a violent confrontation with police on Wall Street:
Just a short while after protesters learned they’d be able to stay in Zuccotti Park indefinitely, violence broke out as a group marched away from it.
Protesters, apparently jubilant over being able to stay in the park after their furious cleanup efforts, took their brooms, flags and signs and started fanning out at around 7:30 a.m.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported the protesters were saying things to the effect that now that they’d cleaned up the park, they were going to clean up Wall Street.
So much for containing the protest to Zuccotti Park, eh? The crowd marched in the street, blocking traffic, which police tried to keep moving. When they confronted the demonstrators, police say that they got pelted with bottles and garbage. The tension ran high in both directions, apparently:
First Precinct Commander Ed Winski checked a protester who refused to stay on the sidewalk. When the protester came back into the street, Winski hurled his megaphone down and wound up rolling around in the street with the protester, throwing punches. Other officers surrounded the two, throwing punches. The protester was arrested.
On the other hand, Jim Hoft notes this moment as one OWS protestor either gets run over by the slowest-moving police scooter ever … or demonstrates acting skills normally seen in a World Cup soccer match:
Note just how slowly this scooter was moving before the “accident”; the officer was traveling at walking speed, trying to maneuver around the people crowded in the street. It barely moves at all before the “victim” is writhing on the ground screaming. Does that mean the man didn’t get run over? In the brief glimpse ahead of the officer just before the incident, this man doesn’t appear to be in the way, which suggests that the protestor may have watched Donny Deutsch this morning and wanted to get a Kent State moment out of this protest.
Regardless, the lesson here is that the city and the landlord didn’t buy anything with their appeasement this morning; they just emboldened the OWS protestors to make a violent confrontation elsewhere. Maybe they could take a lesson or two from San Diego, which followed through on their deadline this morning.
Update: A photographer from the New York Daily News says that the protestor, an attorney named Ari Douglas, faked getting run over:
Daily News photographer Joe Marino, who witnessed the confrontation, said “the bike definitely hit him” but the officer didn’t run him over.
“I saw him sticking his legs under the bike to make it appear he was run over,” Marino said of the lawyer.