68 Occupiers arrested in NYC on New Year's Eve

Occupy Wall Street protesters and police clash over barricades at Zuccotti Park Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011 in New York. The demonstrators returned to the park Saturday after being evicted by police in November. AP Photo/Stephanie Keith

NEW YORK — Authorities said dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested as they tore down the barricades surrounding New York City's Zuccotti Park just before midnight on New Year's Eve.

Police said 68 people were arrested during the scuffle. At least one person was accused of assaulting a police officer, who suffered cuts on one hand. Other charges include trespassing, disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment.

Protester Jason Amadi said he was pepper-sprayed when police tried to prevent the crowd of about 500 demonstrators from taking down the barricades.

Amadi said the crowd piled the barricade pieces in the center of the park and stood on top of them, chanting and singing.

Police are still processing arrests but say some protesters have been released. No other details were available Sunday.


In other Occupy developments:

Urbandale, Iowa: Eighteen protesters connected to the nationwide Occupy movement were arrested Saturday outside the presidential campaign headquarters of Republicans Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

Local police in suburban Des Moines, Iowa, say the 16 adults and two juveniles were arrested for trespassing, a simple misdemeanor. Most were released later Saturday.

Dozens of demonstrators massed outside the office where Bachmann had come to rally staff and make calls to potential caucus-goers. Campaign security told the protesters not to approach the office.

Urbandale police Lt. Kent Knopf said the nine Occupy demonstrators were arrested, handcuffed and taken away in squad cars from Bachmann's office after they ignored security, who called police.

Bachmann did not come outside of the building, but she laughed off the disruption. "The people who are outside are the president's re-election advance team," she told reporters and others inside the office.

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
One young demonstrator, a 16-year-old high school student (left) who was arrested in front of Bachmann's office, said she wished the candidate had come out and heard her concerns about the cost of higher education, the war in Afghanistan and the national debt.

The protesters moved on to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's campaign office, where no arrests were reported; and then on to former House speaker Newt Gingrich's office, where five more trespassing arrests were made.

Hundreds of Occupy activists from at least 10 states were expected to participate in a "People's Caucus" in Des Moines as the Jan. 3 caucuses near. The activists are promising to interrupt candidates at events and camp out at their Iowa campaign offices.

Pasadena, Calif.: Though not officially part of this year's Rose Parade, activists with the Occupy movement say they are planning to turn out en masse at Monday's parade accompanied by their own floats, as well as banners and drums.

Pete Thottam, organizer of Occupy Rose Parade, said activists will be as peaceful and non-violent as possible.

The 122-year-old parade is renowned for its sunny extravaganza of elaborate floral floats, prancing ponies and spirited marching bands. However political statements are nothing new to the New Year's tradition.

Bill Flinn, executive director of the Tournament of Roses., said the parade's overall message is nonpolitical and focuses on uniting people from all walks of life.

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