Wednesday afternoon's planned Occupy Wall Street march, which combined the forces of Zuccotti Park and labor unions, was a largely peaceful event. However, the NYPD seems to have lost its patience with the movement as night fell. According to reports, tensions between cops and protesters began to rise at around 8 p.m.:
The police said they arrested eight protesters around the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street, after people rushed barriers and began spilling into the street. While a couple of witnesses said that officers used pepper spray to clear the streets, Paul J. Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman, said that one officer "possibly" used it. Several protesters were also arrested at State and Bridge Streets at 9:30 p.m.; the police said one protester was charged with assault after an officer was knocked off his scooter.
The problems didn't stop with arrests: Footage uploaded to YouTube later in the evening shows a group of officers using nightsticks to beat back a swarm of protesters.
Whoever uploaded the video did not say when it was taken, nor did they provide information explaining what took place before the outburst. However, Fox News 5 has posted a similar clip in which a reporter attributes the violence to protesters' decision to "push forward" on a police barrier.
Update: According to their report, "mayhem broke out" as crowds pushed into the street: "Fox 5 photographer Roy Isen was hit in the eyes by mace from a police officer and Fox 5 reporter Dick Brennan was hit by an officer's baton."
The New York Post puts the final arrest tally at 28, and reports skirmishes on Liberty, Cedar, Wall, and Ann streets. The largest battle allegedly took place as protesters attempted to access Wall Street from Broadway:
About 25 of them tried to push through, as officers used clubs and Mace to move them back. One cop in a white shirt, signaling he’s a supervisor, was caught on camera wildly swinging his baton in the battle, which led to at least six arrests.
Information from the NYPD remains scarce this morning, but the below clip isn't likely to quell outrage. In it, one officer tells another while setting up barricades, "My little nightstick's going to get a workout tonight." The female officer responds, "I haven't used it," and he shoots back with a smirk, "I have. Several times."
Update 2: NYPD spokesperson Paul J. Browne puts the final arrest total from last night at 23. Most were charged with disorderly conduct and one protester, who ran toward the police at Broadway and Wall Street, was charged with riot.
Occupy Wall Street Megamarch's Violent Aftershocks: Senior Police Officer Beats Protesters With Baton [VIDEO] [Observer]
Cops arrest, Mace demonstrators as Wall Street protests turn violent [NYP]
Occupy Wall Street Arrests; Fox 5 Crew and Protesters Hit by Mace, Batons [Fox 5]
This post has been updated with additional information.