DENVER — The simmering tension near the Colorado Capitol escalated dramatically Saturday with more than a dozen arrests, reports of skirmishes between police and protesters and authorities firing rounds of pellets filled with pepper spray at supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Officers in riot gear moved into a park late in the day where protesters were attempting to establish an encampment, hauling off demonstrators just hours after a standoff at the Capitol steps degenerated into a fight that ended in a cloud of Mace and pepper spray.
Earlier in the day about 2,000 protesters rallying against what they see as economic inequality and corporate greed marched downtown toward the Capitol, setting up the most intense moments of the Denver movement, which has lasted weeks.
A group of the marchers advanced toward the building and some tried to make their way up the steps. About eight officers scuffled with a group of protesters and police confirmed that they used Mace and fired pepper balls – hollow projectiles filled with the chemical irritant – to break up the crowd. Protesters told the paper at the time that they believed police used rubber bullets.
It’s good to see Denver getting some national attention, although it’s mainly due to a few rogue protesters and a few bad cops.