DENVER — Yesterday afternoon riot police clashed with protestors at the Occupy Denver camp in Civic Center Park, resulting in minor injuries and the arrest of 20 protestors.
The violence began when riot police moved into the park to tear down the protestors’ tents. Police say officers were kicked by the protestors, and one officer was knocked off his motorcycle. Protestors attempted to occupy the steps of the State Capitol building, and were pushed away by police.
From there the situation escalated, and Denver PD used pepper spray, and pepper balls (projectiles much like paint balls fired from a gun, which Boston police banned after the death of Emerson College student Victoria Snelgrove at the hands of police improperly trained on the weapons in 2004. Seattle police also banned the weapon after her death) to subdue the crowd. Several protestors were hit with the projectiles and needed to rinse the pepper spray from their eyes.
Video from the Denver Post shows riot police and protestors locked in a shouting match before 3 p.m., at which point a stalemate arose with the protestors regrouped in Civic Center Park and the police backed away to shut down one block of Broadway between Colfax and 14th Ave. in front of the State Capitol building.
During the stalemate, U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter (D) spoke to the Occupy Denver protestors via bullhorn. Perlmutter urged the protestors to continue using nonviolent, peaceful tactics in their protest.
At 6 p.m., hundreds of riot police wielding batons, pepper spray, and pepper balls attempted to remove the tents from Civic Center Park again, announcing over a megaphone that the structures were illegal.
During this action, 15 arrests were made. According to the Denver Post, one police car was vandalized with the phrase “99%” and the DPD reacted to taunts from the protestors.
Saturday was the most violent day for the Occupy Denver chapter of the Occupy Wall Street movement since it began more than a month ago. Today the police blockade on Broadway is over and protestors are regrouping in Civic Center Park.