LAPD, Occupy protesters clash over chalk-drawing demonstration
This post has been corrected; see note at bottom for details.
Two police officers were hurt in downtown Los Angeles late Thursday in a clash between police and Occupy L.A. protesters.
The unrest prompted a Los Angeles Police Department tactical alert that sent hundreds of officers streaming into downtown.
The problems appeared to have stemmed from a sidewalk chalk-drawing demonstration, witnesses said.
A woman who identified herself as part of Occupy L.A. said protesters attended the monthly L.A. ArtWalk on Thursday night with the intention of showing support for people previously arrested for chalking on the sidewalk. A Facebook event advertised the planned demonstration.
Some of the messages written at the intersection of Spring and 5th streets included "May the youth rise" and "End the Fed."
"We were handing out free chalk for freedom of speech," said Cheryl Aichele, 34, a member of Occupy L.A.
Police arrived at the intersection shortly before 10 p.m. to move protesters blocking the street. At one point, an unidentified man tossed a glass bottle over his shoulder that landed in front of a line of LAPD officers gathered on Spring Street between 4th and 5th streets. Another man was shot with what appeared to be a non-lethal weapon, witnesses said.
Police used batons and non-lethal projectiles to disperse the crowd, which in turn threw bottles and cans at officers and chanted, "Whose streets? Our streets!"
Hundreds of officers in riot gear systematically moved the crowd away block by block as people gathered in the windows of nearby apartments and bars to watch and snap cellphone pictures.
"I came down for ArtWalk and it turned into this," said 25-year-old Susan Enciso.
[For the Record, 7:24 a.m.: A previous version of this post stated the man who threw a glass bottle that landed in front of police officers had been shot with a non-lethal weapon. It was another man who was hit with the non-lethal weapon.]
— Stephen Ceasar and Melissa Leu in downtown Los Angeles