The police arrested at least five people on Wednesday afternoon as a group of protesters marched from Tompkins Square Park to Union Square in a May Day demonstration meant to criticize capitalism.
About 150 protesters began gathering in Tompkins Square at 1 p.m. Soon dozens of police officers had also assembled there. Just before 2, the crowd left the park and began slowly marching north on Avenue A, accompanied by officers on motor scooters.
At 11th Street, the marchers suddenly turned east and began running in the roadway, some of them brandishing red and black flags. The police gave chase. At Avenue C and 12th Street, an officer tried to grab a black banner with the words “Never Work” from a man, who scrambled away.
A few moments later a deputy inspector walked up behind a man wearing a green shirt who was walking north on the sidewalk, wrestled the man to the ground and arrested him. A moment later, another person was arrested in the roadway.
“He wasn’t doing anything wrong,” said Faith Laugier, who said she witnessed the second arrest. “He was crossing the street.”
The marchers resumed moving, keeping to the sidewalks on the north side of 14th Street as they headed west. At Second Avenue, the crowd turned north and a moment later a police commander wearing a white shirt began moving briskly toward a young man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and walking on the sidewalk.
As the commander made a beeline for the man, he began running. The commander caught up with him and placed him under arrest.
Then more than a dozen other officers, some uniformed and others in plain clothes, plunged into the crowd of marchers, grabbing and arresting at least three additional protesters, shoving others against a wall and pushing news photographers.
Many in the crowd cursed and yelled at the officers, accusing them of misconduct, before resuming their march, which arrived at Union Square without further incident.
The police did not immediately offer an official tally of how many had been arrested or on what charges.