Clash near Wall St. after park showdown averted

Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET

NEW YORK - Just a few hours after protesters learned they'd be able to stay indefinitely at the lower Manhattan plaza where they've been camped out for a month, police and protesters clashed near the New York Stock Exchange, CBS News station WCBS-TV reports.

The official cleanup of the plaza named Zuccotti Park was postponed early Friday, sending up cheers from demonstrators who feared the effort was merely a pretext to evict them and said the victory emboldened their movement. Apparently jubilant over being able to stay in the park after their furious cleanup efforts, a few hundred of the protesters took their brooms, flags and signs and started fanning out at around 7:30 a.m. ET.

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Radio station WINS-AM reported the protesters were saying things to the effect that now that they'd cleaned up the park, they were going to clean up Wall Street.

"The whole world is watching," they chanted, according to radio station WCBS-AM.

A group of protesters headed toward the New York Stock Exchange, carrying their brooms. Police were taken off-guard, WINS-AM reported. The group swelled quickly and wound up in a standoff with police as they tried to gain access to Wall Street.

There are barricades and mounted police around the exchange. Police urged protesters to stay out of the street and stay on the sidewalk.

Police scooters in a V-shaped formation moved toward the protesters in the standoff. One man lost his balance and was run over by a police scooter. He screamed before kicking the scooter over to free his foot, according to The Associated Press. Police descended on the protester and got him out from under the bike, but violence had broken out. Some witnesses told WINS-AM that the man was beaten during the arrest.

(Warning: The below YouTube video showing the incident contains graphic language.)

"We had somebody knock over a scooter," police spokesman Paul Browne said, according to WCBS-TV. "I don't know what the charges were. There were people in the street. The police officer was trying to get them out of the street."

Police clashed with some protesters, wielding their nightsticks and batons, WINS-AM reports. A police officer in a white shirt, possibly a captain, hurled his megaphone and wound up rolling around in the street with a protester, throwing punches. Other officers surrounded the white-shirted officer, throwing punches.

Police say the protesters were throwing bottles and bags of garbage at officers, triggering the police response, WINS-AM reports. Police say they were trying to control the situation when it got out of hand.

Police say 14 people were arrested, mostly for ignoring police commands, WCBS-AM reports. Police say that includes protesters who sat or stood in the street, obstructing traffic.

Many of the protesters ended up circling back and returning to Zuccotti Park.

Earlier, protesters scrambled to clean up the park on their own in hopes of staving off eviction when Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway announced that the owner of the private park, Brookfield Office Properties, had put off the cleaning.

"My understanding is that Brookfield got lots of calls from many elected officials threatening them and saying ... 'We're going to make your life more difficult,'" Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.

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There was still some skepticism even after the protesters, who call their demonstration Occupy Wall Street, were told they could stay on.

"I'll believe it when we're able to stay here," said Peter Hogness, 56, a union employee from Brooklyn. "One thing we have learned from this is that we need to rely on ourselves and not on promises from elected officials."

Nonetheless, they declared it a boon to their movement, which blames Wall Street and corporate interests for the economic pain they say all but the wealthiest Americans have endured since the financial meltdown. Since starting a month ago in New York, the movement has spread to cities across the U.S. and the world.

"This development has emboldened the movement and sent a clear message that the power of the people has prevailed against Wall Street," New York organizers said in a statement.

Bloomberg, whose girlfriend is a member of Brookfield's board of directors, noted on his radio show that the company can still go ahead with the cleanup at some point.

"They called to say they want to see if they can work out an agreement with the protesters," Bloomberg said on WOR Radio. "If they want to take a couple of days ... then they can do that."

The company's rules, which haven't been enforced, have all along prohibited tarps, sleeping bags and storing personal property on the ground. Though the park is privately owned, it is required to be open to the public 24 hours per day.

Brookfield, a publicly traded real estate firm, had planned to power-wash the New York plaza section by section over 12 hours and allow the protesters back -- but without much of the equipment they needed to sleep and camp there. The company called the conditions at the park unsanitary and unsafe.

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