NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police and protesters faced off throughout the day today as Occupy Wall Street protesters marked the 2-month anniversary of “Occupy Wall Street” with a “Day of Action.”
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Clashes between protesters and police in Zuccotti Park and elsewhere in Lower Manhattan left seven police officers injured, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said during an afternoon press conference.
Two of the officers were taken to Bellevue Hospital and 5 others were treated and released from Beekman Downtown Hospital after splashed with what was likely vinegar near Broadway and Wall Street, Kelly said.
One of the officers suffered cuts to his hand — a defensive would, Kelly said. Bloomberg said that officer was 24-year-old Matthew Walters, who received about 20 stitches. Walters apparently received the laceration on his left hand after being contacted by some type of star-shaped glass object, the mayor said.
Earlier Thursday Kelly said 177 people were arrested, five for assault in the second-degree. However, as of 10 p.m. Thursday night, the number of arrests rose to 250.
Mayor Bloomberg said 10,000 people were expected to protest Thursday, but far fewer had actually turned out.
Bloomberg further downplayed the protesters’ numbers and said they caused only “minimal disruptions to our city.”
Bloomberg said the while most protesters “acted responsibly,” those who didn’t would be dealt with accordingly.
“You can rest assured the NYPD has trained for this kind of event, they’ll be where they need to be,” Bloomberg said.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported that protesters were also throwing batteries at officers. A bottle was also reportedly thrown at a cop.
Earlier in the day, police barricaded hundreds of protesters inside Zuccotti Park after they marched onto Wall Street.
Despite the number of arrests, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told 1010 WINS’ that the protest has been orderly overall.
“People were able to get to work and leave the area,” he said. “Most, when they were told to return to the sidewalk, did. Those who didn’t were arrested.”READ MORE: Gov. Hochul: No Known Cases Of New COVID Variant 'Omicron' In New York
According to their website, protesters returned to Zuccotti in what they called a “victory march.”
As police tried to corral protesters inside the park, many began knocking over barricades and lifting them up over the crowd. Some even danced on them.
Hundreds of protesters marched around the Financial District chanting “Occupy Wall Street, all day, all week” and “Whose streets? Our streets!”
Protesters were greeted by a large police presence, who had essentially turned the blocks surrounding the NYSE into a large “frozen zone.” Area residents and workers could get past police barricades by showing identification and proof they work there.
Many residents, workers and children had to thread through crowds of protesters to make their way past barricades which triggered several shoving matches and arrests.
“You do not have a parade permit! You are blocking the street,” a police officer said through a bullhorn to demonstrators.
According to messages sent out on Twitter this morning, some protesters were wearing suits to try to blend in with the business crowd.
They also claimed that about 20 protesters locked arms and blocked access to a TD Bank while a sanitation truck blocked Beaver Street “in solidarity with OWS.”
The protests also delayed bus service on the M5 bus line near Broadway and Chambers Street, according to MTA.
A member of the Occupy Wall Street Press team said Thursday’s demonstration, even if it’s not entirely successful, is the first step to toward affecting change.
“Change starts with awareness,” Mark Bray told CBS 2’s Jay Dow. “And if you look at any significant change in American history, it takes years.”
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