LAPD, Occupy Clash Over ... Sidewalk Chalk?

ArtWalk turns ugly as officers injured, many arrested
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2012 9:42 AM CDT
A unidentified man is arrested by Los Angeles police on Fourth Street and Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles, July 12, 2012.   (AP Photo/Grant Hindsley)

(Newser) – Riot police broke up an ArtWalk-turned-Occupy LA protest last night, using batons and non-lethal projectiles to disperse the crowd and arresting several, the LA Times reports. What were protesters doing? Drawing with sidewalk chalk. A Facebook event urged protesters to join LA's monthly ArtWalk and show support for people arrested in previous sidewalk chalk incidents. "We were handing out free chalk for freedom of speech," says one 34-year-old Occupy member. Police got wind of the demonstration, and lined the street.

"People were just drawing on the ground. And then riot police moved in," a witness told CBS 2. "A girl was drawing hopscotch. A guy next to her wrote 'I want peace.' The next thing, they started arresting people." It's unclear how accurate that picture is. The Times says one man tossed a bottle over his shoulder that landed in front of police lines. He was immediately shot with what witnesses say was a non-lethal weapon. CBS says a citywide alert went out at 9pm after protesters began pelting officers with bottles and stones at the same location. Four officers suffered minor injuries in the scrum.

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