New York City's history is rife with skirmishes between police and demonstrators. Occupy Wall Street is the latest protest that included mass arrests, marches that block streets and use of physical force from the NYPD.
2004 Republican National Convention
The Republican Party came to town in 2004 to renominate President George W. Bush in Madison Square Garden. Scores of demonstrations were held in protest, resulting in a mass arrests and detention that cast a highly critical light on NYPD practices. In one day, the nearly 1,200 people were arrested, according to a New York Civil Liberties Union report on police activity during the convention.
Two days before the official start of the convention, about 5,000 people took part in a monthly Critical Mass bicycle rally. The NYPD had put up nets on Seventh Avenue to block the riders from their bicycle route, eventually arresting more than 250 people, the NYCLU wrote in a 2005 report.
Ku Klux Klan In Manhattan
If there is one thing connecting Occupy Wall Street and the Ku Klux Klan, it is that New York City used a 19th Century law against demonstrators wearing masks in public. The law prohibits groups of masked demonstrations and resulted in the arrest of several Occupy Wall Street protesters.
The city in 1999 cited this law when refusing to allow Klan members to march in Manhattan. The case went up to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a New York Daily News report at the time. About 6,000 counterprotesters rallied against the Klan. A melee broke out and sixteen anti-Klan demonstrators were arrested for assault, inciting to riot and disorderly conduct, the News report said.
Sean Bell Verdict
When three detectives were acquitted in 2008 for the fatal police shooting of Sean Bell, an unarmed Queens man who died during a nighttime celebration before his wedding, a so-called pray-in was held that resulted in mass arrests.
According to a New York Times report, 216 people were arrested when a demonstration protesting the verdict was held at intersections in Manhattan and Brooklyn, shutting down traffic. The police began arresting demostrators when they knelt down and began praying in the street, according to the report.
Tompkins Square Park Riot
In 1998, violence broke out during a protest over a 1 a.m. curfew instituted for Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan's East Village. The curfew aimed to drive the homeless from the park but protesters saw the policy as a way to further gentrify the neighborhood.
During one Aug. 6, 1988 protest featuring 100 people, police on foot and horse attacked demonstrators after bottles were allegedly being thrown.
This video taken by Clayton Patterson details the force police dressed in riot gear and holding batons used on protesters.