ABC News’ Olivia Katrandjian reports:
Video posted by the group Occupy Wall St from the eighth day of protests against corporations show police using Tasers and mace to control the crowd, which the group says has only made it more committed to keep up the demonstrations in lower Manhattan for the long haul.
A New York Police Department spokeswoman today confirmed the group’s claim that approximately 80 people were arrested Saturday, mainly for disorderly conduct and obstructing vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
“One person was arrested for assaulting a police officer,” she said.
She added that no arrests have been made today.
The spokeswoman could not confirm whether police officers are using mace, Tasers or netting against protesters.
Among the video clips on the Occupy Wall Street website is one that shows a police officer macing a group of young women penned in by orange netting.
Another video has circulated of a police officer throwing a protester to the ground, though it is not clear why. The video shows the man standing in what seems to be a non-threatening manner before the incident.
Another video shows police officers pushing male and female protesters off the street, and using a large orange net to move the crowd.
Last night, a group of protesters marched from Zuccotti Park to One Police Plaza and then to the 5th Precinct in Chinatown, in search of their friends who had been arrested earlier on Saturday.
“You can still leave without being arrested. Leave this corner,” police told demonstrators. But several were arrested.
Cristina Gonzalez, 25, was among those arrested last night. She spoke to ABC station WABC-TV when she called her sister from the back of a police van.
“We haven’t been charged, we don’t know what happened,” Gonzalez said. “We are at One Police Plaza, there’s 16 of us in the back of a van and we’re sweating. And there’s a man back here in who needs medical attention. He’s bleeding from his head and his handcuffs are too tight.”
The group claimed on its website that several arrested protestors were locked inside a police van Saturday morning, one with a “possibly life-threatening” concussion.
The website reported at least one protestor was arrested for taking photographs. An NYPD spokesman told ABC News Saturday that police were not targeting those with cameras.
The protests began on Sept. 17, when hundreds of protestors gathered at Bowling Green Park in Manhattan, home of the iconic charging bull in New York’s Financial District, as they prepared to “take the bull by the horns,” as a flyer advertising the event said.
“The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%,” said a statement on the website Occupy Wall Street.
According to statements on the website, the movement, an offshoot of online magazine AdBusters, is angered by what it calls the principle of “profit over and above all else,” which it says has dominated not only America’s economic policies, but also the way in which Americans view culture and humanity.
Posts on the website compare the group’s efforts to those used in pro-democracy movements across the Middle East, dubbed the Arab Spring.
“On the 17th of September, we want to see 20,000 people to flood into lower Manhattan, set up beds, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months,” one statement says. “Like our brothers and sisters in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Iceland, we plan to use the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic of mass occupation to restore democracy in America. We also encourage the use of nonviolence to achieve our ends and maximize the safety of all participants.”
As has become the norm of such protests, this movement has been fueled by social media fire, with supporters taking to Twitter under the hash tag #occupywallstreet. The major hacking group Anonymous has also thrown in its support, live streaming the day’s events.