12 people were arrested Sunday in Manhattan when an Occupy Wall Street protest--held in solidarity with the 400 protesters detained in Oakland Saturday--turned violent.
About 300 protesters gathered in Washington Square at 7PM Sunday, and marched across 14th street chanting "Whose street? Our street!" while occasionally surging into the road, dragging plastic construction barrels into the path of trailing cop cars. In a few instances, protesters tossed glass bottles at NYPD officers, prompting police to charge into the crowd and make arrests.
Both Gothamist and The New York Times report police--likely confused in the dark, especially as many protesters were dressed in black--arrested people who may have been innocent protesters or bystanders.
Then, according to The Times:
Just before 10 p.m., the marchers arrived on 9th Street just east of Avenue B and congregated in front of an empty former school building that had housed the Charas / El Bohio Cultural and Community Center before the group was evicted ten years ago by a developer, Gregg L. Singer, who had bought the building at a city auction.
"This was once a vibrant community center," a man said as others pounded on a tall plywood fence that sealed the empty building off from the sidewalk. "The people in Oakland wanted to create a community center."
Protesters' tactics Sunday were a stark departure from the normally nonviolent demonstrations conducted in New York since September, when the movement started.
Black Bloc protests first came about in the 80s in Europe and were a part of the anti-World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle in 1999. Protest techniques are disruptive and volatile. They include rioting, vandalism and fighting as well as assistance to fellow protesters in fleeing police. These techniques are probably why many who casually mention Black Bloc protests online often include the word, "anarchists."
And although it appears the mainstream Occupy movement doesn't support Black Bloc methods, the protest announcement, titled "Solidarity Sunday-Wear Black Fight Back" may have invited the violent tactics.
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