Rubber Bullet Wounds on at Occupy Denver
Police pointing "less-than-lethal" weapons at non-violent protestors
Photos of rubber bullet wounds from police shooting 21 year old out of tree
Watch police pepper spray & use rubber bullets on #OccupyDenver http://www.9news.com/dontmiss/227022/630/7-Occupy-Denver-protesters-arrested-in-clash-at-capitol-
Rubber bullet wounds at #OccupyDenver http://occupydenver.org/occupy-denver-under-attack/
Photos from #OccupyDenver earlier today http://photos.denverpost.com/mediacenter/2011/10/occupy-denver-protesters-face-off-with-police-saturday-october-29-2011/23403/
Police beat #OccupyDenver protesters earlier today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDTvdAYkKdg
Video of pepper spray from earlier today at #OccupyDenver http://www.twitvid.com/61GCJ
Solidarity with @OccupyDenver
In addition to including the largest show of police attention and force the occupation has faced yet, today's demonstration was also its earliest interaction with the police. Officers began to close in on the camp around 2:30, and Broadway between Colfax and 14th was completely closed off by 3 p.m. By 5 p.m., more than thirty police vehicles and 200 police offers, all in full riot gear, surrounded Civic Center Park before organizing and flanking the group. The scene has become a routine one and marks the third round of large-scale arrests and police intervention in a period just over two weeks.
"It was a great party until the police crashed it with hundreds of rubber bullet guns," says protester Kerri Kellerman, who was arrested during both of the first two rounds. "We keep putting on peaceful protests, and they keep crashing them until it's not peaceful at all anymore once they're here."
Early in the day, Occupy organizers called out on social media for people to show up in mass numbers for the Saturday rally to support efforts to "take back the park." This focused mostly on setting up eleven tents as a symbol of the movement's freedom and a reminder of the need it faces for shelter from increasingly cold weather. The majority of the tents were reclaimed from the state patrol yesterday by protesters with IDs after they were removed from the group's previous site in Lincoln Park.
By the time the day's approximately 2,000-person march rounded its way back to the campsite, with a long stop in front of the Capitol building, officers had mobilized and formed ranks around the area in preparation.
At about 3:30 p.m., the first round of violent interaction occurred on the side of the park opposite the tents. Officers moved in on the gathering with rubber bullet guns already out and pointed -- an increase in aggression compared to the beginnings of previous demonstrations. As protesters grouped to shout chants at the cops and form a barrier between the officers and the camp, police opened fire on the group and openly sprayed tear gas at any occupiers standing in the way. One protester, Andrew Cleres, was shot from a tree with an entire round of rubber bullets while taking photos of the scene.
"I was just sitting in the tree and didn't confront the police at all, but when they started shooting, I was in their way and received the brunt of a lot of bullets," Cleres says. The result can be seen in bloody holes covering his right arm. "Then people tried to defend me, and they got shot, too."
Today's situation can easily be called the most tense interaction between police and protesters so far, as protesters were sprayed and shot with much less delay than previous encounters. In the bright afternoon, protesters were dragged to police vans after being arrested. Police officials have not yet released an official number of arrests.
After the first round of interaction, police waited more than an hour as they organized in a line, baton to baton, and moved all protesters off the sidewalk. The camp was then split into two parties, one in Lincoln Park and a larger gathering in Civic Center Park, and the two sides were blocked from joining each other while police delivered a thirty-minute dispersal warning. Protesters were informed of their violation of city ordinance 39-7 and warned that they must disperse and leave the park or risk being arrested for unlawful activity on a city park.
As a handful of people evacuated the scene, the police force grew in size to at least 200, with one officer walking the length of the formation and passed out extra riot batons from inside of a cardboard box. All the while, the Thunderdome continued to serve beets, and its volunteers organized a large batch of rags soaked in vinegar to protect against pepper spray. After the thirty minutes ran out and another five-minute warning expired, police moved in on the camp again to rip down and remove all the tents, arresting those who stood in their way.
One of the arrests is said to be a seventeen-year-old girl who frequently visits the occupation.