The NYPD was thrown a curveball Wednesday night when an Occupy Wall Street march turned chaotic after it fanned across Lower Manhattan, shutting down several streets and resulting in some arrests.
Several hundred demonstrators started heading to City Hall from Zuccotti Park at 9 p.m., protesting what they said was unnecessary force by police at an Occupy Oakland protest in California Tuesday night.
The Occupy Wall Street marchers said their rally was an expression of solidarity with the Oakland protesters.
When they reached City Hall Park, however, they were not able to get inside because the park was closed. The procession instead circled the park a few times.
On their way back to Zuccotti Park, the marchers broke off into several smaller groups; at least three distinct groups were seen from the air in News Chopper 4.
The factions took different directions, and some of them were seen encountering police and running at times.
Several people were also seen being arrested.
Where pockets of chaos bubbled up, it wasn't immediately clear what prompted the sudden skirmishes with police.
At some intersections, marchers were met with a line of police scooters or mesh barriers blocking access to the road, apparently meant to redirect marchers on to the sidewalks and off the streets.
Parts of Broadway downtown were closed during the marches.
The action appeared to start winding down after 11 p.m., as one large group of protesters began to walk back peacefully toward Zuccotti Park, trailed by a line of NYPD patrol cars.
The NYPD response to the march was generally reserved compared to the police response in California Tuesday.
The rally in Oakland Tuesday turned confrontational when police said they warned protesters to disperse, and unleashed tear gas on the crowd when they failed to obey.
The tear gas caused some people to vomit and others to run in search of water to douse their eyes, according to NBC Bay Area.
A 24-year-old Iraq war veteran, Scott Olsen, suffered a fractured skull from being struck with a police projectile during the clash, Iraq Veterans Against the War spokesperson Dottie Guy told the AP.
The former Marine had attended the evening protest out of sense that banks and corporations had too much influence on the government, Guy said. A local hospital confirmed to the wire service Olsen was in critical condition.