DENVER (CBS4) – Six people were arrested after a violent confrontation with Denver police at Civic Center Park into the early morning hours of Thursday. Police say the protesters clashed with officers when they refused numerous requests to tear down tents and leave.
Denver police say they had learned protesters planned to set up tents Civic Center Park and, like Seattle’s autonomous zone, to stay indefinitely. This was after the 11 p.m. park curfew on Wednesday. The protesters had formed a line linking arm in arm.
“This is a nonviolent protest,” one person on the protester side shouted.
As police moved in, skirmishes broke out. Some officers suffered minor injuries as the trouble escalated. Six protesters were arrested. Police deployed pepper balls and as chemical dispersants.
DPD Division Chief Ron Thomas told reporters, “The group threw things at officers, sprayed officers with some unknown irritant and as well as using fire extinguishers to spray at the officers.”
Brian Loma with Occupy Denver took video of the clashes. He says a confrontation wasn’t planned when discussed by the protesters.
“Don’t be assaultive, don’t go after people, be a peaceful protester.”
He says his video show some officers without required body cameras and name badges.
But police insisted this operation was by the book under the new state police accountability law. The tents and protesters in Civic Center Park were ultimately removed by the police.
Nearby, there are dozens of tents allowed to stay. Denver police say it’s because that park is on state property while Civic Center Park is part of the City of Denver.