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Police Clash With Protesters Downtown Near ArtWalk LA

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Police clashed with scores of demonstrators Thursday evening downtown near ArtWalk LA, resulting in several arrests and injured officers.

A citywide tactical alert was issued after 9 p.m. Thursday after Los Angeles police officers in riot gear were pelted with rocks and bottles by protestors near 5th and Spring streets.

Officials say four officers suffered minor injuries including a female officer who suffered a concussion.

At least some of the protestors were associated with the Occupy LA movement which promoted Chalk Walk on their twitter page and may have organized "Free Chalk For Free Speech."

According to posts on the @OccupyLA Twitter account, the incident began after police confronted people drawing on the sidewalks with chalk.

Amanda Burden, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, spoke to one witness on the ground. He said "people were just drawing on the ground. And then riot police moved in. A girl was drawing hopscotch. A guy next to her wrote 'I want peace.' The next thing, they started arresting people. Everything was calm before the riot police showed up."

Chris Spinder, a witness and downtown resident, said "there was some organized shouting," but he wasn't entirely sure what the demonstrators were asking for.

Seventeen protestors were arrested, Los Angeles police confirmed. A handful of citations were also issued.

The tactile alert was canceled at 3 a.m.

ArtWalk LA takes place on the second Thursday of each month with galleries, bars and restaurants remaining open late.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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