Protesters set fires & clash with NYC cops after hundreds turn out for ‘Count Every Vote’ march in Manhattan (PHOTOS & VIDEOS)
A number of demonstrators were arrested amid a post-Election Day protest march through Manhattan that drew hundreds of participants, seeing some activists light fires and clash with a heavy police presence in the area.
A sizable ‘Count Every Vote’ rally that began in Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon continued into the evening, drawing around 400 or 500 marchers, a local protest group estimated.
Though the earlier action appears to have gone off without incident, with a large crowd allowed to march through the streets hoisting banners and signs, the demonstration took on a more tense atmosphere as day turned to night. Protesters who gathered at Washington Square Park in Lower Manhattan were met by “hundreds of cops” and a “constellation of police helicopters,” according to the Gothamist’s Jake Offenhartz, who documented the event on the ground.
March arrives in Washington Square Park, where they’re greeted by hundreds of cops and a constellation of police helicopters. Two NYU freshmen said the sound of choppers kept them up all night pic.twitter.com/rpyOFoFJwq— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) November 4, 2020
A secondary march that broke away from the group at the park was flanked by dozens of riot officers on bicycles, who began making arrests as the crowd grew more agitated. Police also began efforts to “kettle” the rally, a tactic used to control the movement of large protests.
A new march has moved off from the park — more BLM than pro-Biden. They’re flanked from either side by 50+ bike cops in riot gear, who just stormed 6th Ave and arrested someone (unclear why) pic.twitter.com/8kLERruUk2— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) November 5, 2020
Another hard arrest, cause unclear. New Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes is here, I’m told. Helluva start pic.twitter.com/mGefFZiWiF— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) November 5, 2020
As the event grew more heated, scuffles broke out between police and demonstrators, who Offenhartz described as “heavy on black bloc,” referring to militant left-wing protesters who don all-black at rallies and often clash with law enforcement.
NYPD attempts to kettle the group, which is heavy on black bloc. Probably a dozen arrests — one woman hit by a bike pretty hard. Rest of group is moving thru village. pic.twitter.com/vHFgaURO4T— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) November 5, 2020
Protesters also ignited several small fires around the city, with the flames and efforts to extinguish them captured in footage circulating online.
The New York Police Department addressed the rally in a tweet as it was ongoing on Wednesday night, noting that while it supports “everyone’s right to self-expression,” setting fires “puts others at risk and will not be tolerated.” It added that officers were working to “de-escalate” the protest.
We support everyone's right to self-expression, but setting fires puts others at risk and will not be tolerated. We are working to de-escalate the situation near Morton Street in the West Village to prevent further damage from occurring. pic.twitter.com/4nTK6UUBzC— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 5, 2020
The department said it made over 20 arrests during the protest, describing the arrestees as “individuals who attempted to hijack a peaceful protest by lighting fires, throwing garbage and eggs in Manhattan,” also sharing a photo of weapons it said it seized at the march, including multiple blades, fireworks and what appeared to be a taser device.
These weapons, confiscated at protests tonight, put others at risk. Bringing weapons to peaceful protests cannot and will not be tolerated. We are currently working to de-escalate the situation. Anyone caught with a weapon will be arrested. pic.twitter.com/GiCDv74ncT— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 5, 2020
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